Former Priest Fights To Clear Name, Sues Arch Diocese

Charles Kavanaugh was accused and convicted in a secret Church court trial of sexual abuse and stripped of his position as a Roman Catholic Priest. But since then, his accuser has recanted his story, and now Kavanaugh is fighting to clear his name and maybe even get his job back.

Catholic Online reports the ex-priest’s accuser, Daniel Donohoe, said the priest jumped into bed with him and rubbed against him, among other allegations. But Donohoe, now an adult, says he made the whole thing up.

“The statement was not true and I apologize for it,” he wrote. The apology was submitted to a federal court in a sworn statement.

Kavanaugh has been fighting the allegations for 10 years. NBC reports he initially filed a counter-suit against Donohoe, but dropped it when Donohoe admitted the 30-year-old allegations were false. He is now suing the Arch Diocese of New York and a Catholic publication that ran a press release from the Arch Diocese for defamation and libel.

In May, a Church spokesman Joseph Zwilling said the ex-priest was defrocked over multiple counts of abuse, not just the testimony of Donohoe.

“That is a flat-out lie. There are not multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor,” said Kavanaugh’s sister and attorney Ann Mandt. “And that’s why we sued them. Because it is a lie.”

NBC also reports that the Arch Diocese of New York is now reviewing the lawsuit.

The stripping of Kavanaugh’s sacramental authority was not all he lost when he was fired as a priest. He also lost his pension and a place to live. He is now living on the generosity of family and friends.

But, even given all he’s been through, the former pastor of St. Raymond’s Church in the Bronx still wants to be an active priest once again.