The highest ranking New York-based priest accused of molestation was found guilty of sexually abusing a teenager by a church tribunal last week. Monsignor Charles Kavanagh, who formerly led St. Raymond's parish in the Bronx, and was the chief fund-raiser for the Archdiocese of New York, was dismissed from the clergy following the guilty verdict on Friday. "I would like to take this occasion to renew our apologies to all those who have been harmed by the sin and crime of sexual abuse, and in particular to the gentleman who was the victim in this case," said Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
In 2002, Daniel Donohue came forward after 30 years to accuse Kavanagh of abuse while he attended Cathedral Preparatory Seminary in Manhattan. Kavanagh was found guilty of two lewd acts against Donohue; Kavanagh allegedly jumped on top of Donohue while the teen was lying on a rectory couch, and climbing into his hotel bed, wearing just his underwear, while they attended a pro-life rally in DC in the '70s. Donohue told the Post that he had been haunted by the abuse for years: "My poor wife has seen my suffering and my screaming in the night."
After an initial investigation, during which he was removed from his Bronx church, Kavanagh was found guilty by a three-priest tribunal, who recommended he be defrocked; even though he wasn't charged with a crime by civil authorities, the tribunal is the highest legal body in the Church, which makes his defrocking permanent. Kavanagh's sister, attorney Anne Mandt, maintained his innocence, and said the archdiocese never gave Kavanagh due process, refused to reveal the evidence against him, and ignored the sworn testimony of almost 20 witnesses. "The archdiocese went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that this good priest would be judged guilty of something, anything," she said.