Saturday, May 25, 2002

Clergyman admits abusing boys

The Associated Press

        YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A monsignor who retired last month has admitted to sexually abusing two brothers more than 30 years ago, the Youngstown Roman Catholic Diocese said on Friday.

        The brothers told diocese officials in January that Monsignor Robert E. Reidy abused them while he was an associate pastor at St. Nicholas Church in Struthers from 1965 to 1966.

        “The monsignor admitted this did happen,” said Nancy Yuhasz, the diocesan chancellor.

        Monsignor Robert Siffrin, the Youngstown Diocese's vicar general, said that after learning about the accusations, church officials confronted Msgr. Reidy, who had been pastor with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Niles since 1999. Msgr. Reidy, 66, was removed from the ministry after the allegations became known, Ms. Yuhasz said.

        He retired effective April 2 and was sent for counseling, Msgr. Siffrin said.

        He will no longer be able to act publicly as a priest but will be able to celebrate Mass and other sacraments privately, Ms. Yuhasz said.

        Msgr. Reidy spent much of his career as a Navy chaplain. He also served as director of the Jerusalem Office of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

        Bishop Thomas J. Tobin asked Pope John Paul II to make Reidy a monsignor in 1997. He is a prelate of honor, the highest of two designations of monsignor.

        Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said the Reidy case was one of eight cases of sexual abuse he recently reviewed.

        Mr. Gains said the most recent case was 1973 — the oldest was 1948 — and that none of the cases could be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had passed.

        The statute of limitations for prosecuting pre-1999 sexual abuse cases is six years from the time of the offense, or, in the case of a minor, six years after the victim turns 18. The statute of limitations was extended to 20 years in 1999.

        Last month, it was disclosed that two priests ousted by the Youngstown diocese in the 1980s after being accused of sexually abusing children later obtained jobs in other dioceses.

        The diocese has about 262,000 Catholics in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull counties.


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