Sunday, January 08, 2006

Priest fights abuse allegation charges in NY


After nearly four years of fighting sex abuse charges, Monsignor Charles Kavanagh will have his day in a Church court. It's what the Vatican ordered. It's what Kavanagh wants. "This is what I prayed for," Kavanagh said. "I understand the need in this climate for significant review. All I want is a full and fair hearing and I'll be fine." In 2002 a former student accused Kavanagh of abusing him more than 20 years ago, when Kavanagh was head of Cathedral Prep Seminary in Manhattan. The claims were made beyond the statute of limitations. The Archdiocese of New York suspended Kavanagh, then pastor at St. Raymond Church in the Bronx, and pressed on with an internal investigation. They sent their findings to the judicial arm of the Vatican, which found the evidence merited a full trial by a Church Tribunal. "It's good for the people of faith of the Archdiocese of New York," said Joseph Zwilling of the Archdiocese of New York. " They know I hope now that the Church takes those allegations very seriously." While not overconfident, Kavanagh says the facts should exonerate him. "I feel that if I do this honorably my name will be cleared," he said.

I'm glad to see a priest actually challenging these claims in court. I've been getting kind of tired of dioceses just rolling over and accepting these charges without a detailed investigation, especially ones past the statute of limitations like this one is. I don't know how it will turn out, but I'm glad it's been challenged in court.


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