For immediate release: Thursday, August 21, 2014
A North Carolina priest, who has been accused of child sexual abuse and admitted it, has died. Our condolences to the priest’s family, but we hope Catholic officials do not bury him with priestly honors.
Fr. Michael Joseph Kelleher was first accused of abusing a boy in the late 1970s in 2010; a second victim later came forward. Fr. Kelleher’s last assignment before being removed was chaplain at Bishop McGuinness High School in Winston-Salem. We hope anyone who may have been suffering in silence and self-blame will now find the courage to speak up.
We hope his victim finds peace from his death. We are glad that he can no longer hurt any more children and we hope Catholic officials do not callously rub salt into the wounds of victims by giving Fr. Kelleher a large and pomp-filled funeral.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)