NEW YORK, May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Last Thursday Daniel Donohue admitted he lied when he accused Msgr. Charles Kavanagh of sexually abusing him. In 2002 Donohue claimed that 20 years earlier when he was a student at Cathedral Prep, the Monsignor took him on a trip to the Right to Life March and climbed into bed and pressed up against him while the Monsignor was wearing only his underwear.
Even though he had repeated it for eight years, on April 26, 2012, in the presence of a Federal Judge, Mr. Donohue signed a statement admitting this claim was false. Mr. Donohue also said that he hoped the church would reexamine its decision to remove Msgr. Kavanagh from ministry.
Kavanagh, Donohue said, "has been a positive force for good in the church and community and has helped thousands of young people."
"We have been fighting for 10 years to clear the name of a falsely accused man," said Kavanagh's lawyer and sister, Ann Mandt. "We had hoped this admission by his sole accuser that he gave false testimony would have been considered by the Archdiocese as an opportunity to render justice to a falsely accused priest. Instead they have chosen to further a lie."
Yesterday the Archdiocese of New York issued a statement regarding Mr. Donohue's retraction which was "false, inflammatory and defamatory", said Mandt. "The Archdiocese's statement that Mr. Donohue 'changed one of his claims' is false. Mr. Donohue did not 'change' his claim. He admitted it was a lie," Mandt explained. In 2010 a canonical court affirmed a decision that Kavanagh was 'guilty of multiple incidents of handholding during prayer,' which the court concluded was a 'crime of sexual abuse,' something no ordinary person would ever consider abusive," said Mandt. Donohue was the sole accuser of this "hand holding" also.
"To think that a priest would be removed from ministry after 47 years of faithful service for the alleged CRIME of 'handholding in the lap' is outrageous," she added.
This is disgraceful and the church should be ashamed not only of its handling of the case but of the latest statement, said Mandt's partner, J. Douglas Peters of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. "If the church thinks that this is over, it is mistaken. We will not rest until an innocent man is cleared."
The full text of the Donahue retraction statement is as follows:
My name is Daniel Donohue. Ten years ago in 2002, and in the years thereafter, I accused Msgr. Charles Kavanagh of having sexually abused me as a minor.
Specifically, I accused him of getting into my bed and pressing his body against me on a trip to a Right to Life March in Washington D.C. while I was a senior in high school.
This statement was not true and I apologize for it.
I did not go on any such trip with Msgr. Kavanagh while I was in high school.
Msgr. Kavanagh has been a positive force for good in the church and community and has helped thousands of young people.
I have never intended that the church would deprive him of his ministry and I hope the church will reexamine this decision and process.
(Signed) Daniel C. Donohue
SOURCE Charfoos & Christensen, P.C.