Claim against Father Peter Mahoney dates back to the ’70s
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — A claim of alleged sexual abuse of a minor, leveled against a priest from a Queens church dating back to the 1970s, has been found to be credible, according to Diocese of Brooklyn officials.
The priest has been removed from all public ministry, including the public celebration of Mass, as a result of the independent investigation of the Diocesan Review Board (DRB).
Father Peter Mahoney, 86, who most recently had been ministering part-time to the Hispanic community at St. Anne Catholic Church in Flushing and St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, is prohibited from such activity and also from living in an ecclesiastical residence.
“It should be understood that such action by the Diocese is not to be interpreted as a judgment of the guilt of the priest,” according to the diocesan statement issued Nov. 22. “However, it is recognition of the possibility that wrongdoing may have taken place, and therefore, out of concern for the safety of the faithful, it was determined necessary to remove the priest from ministry.”
The faithful to whom Father Mahoney had been most recently ministering were informed of the situation over the weekend by the diocese.
The alleged abuse took place between 1975 and 1978 while Father Mahoney was serving at St. Martin of Tours Church in Bushwick, Brooklyn. No further details of the allegation were made available.
The allegation was reported to the diocese’s telephone reporting line on Oct. 2, 2020, and was forwarded to law enforcement on the same day.
The allegation was also referred to the Diocesan Review Board for investigation on that date.
The board investigated the claim and found it to be credible, which means the DRB believes the allegations may be true.
A lawsuit was filed against Father Mahoney under the Child Victims Act on April 8 of this year. The suit involves an allegation made against the priest by a second accuser.
The diocese has a “zero tolerance” policy against clergy sex abuse.
The policy includes the permanent removal of a priest credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
The Office of Victim Assistance Ministry provides supportive services to victims, including counseling and referrals for therapy. The diocese also holds an annual Mass of Hope and Healing for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn is committed to providing pastoral care to victims,” officials said in the statement.
Father Mahoney’s name will be added to the list of credibly accused priests on the diocese’s website.
The diocese operates a toll-free reporting line for accusers to report allegations. The number is 1-888-634-4499.
All reports that come into the line are forwarded to law enforcement authorities.