The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Former Charlotte area priest facing sex abuse allegations; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414 429 7259
We applaud this brave victim for speaking up and contacting police. The independent professionals in law enforcement should investigate crimes, not the biased and often corrupt amateurs in church offices.
We hope this victim’s courage will prod others with information about Fr. Kelleher to step forward, get help, call police, protect others and start healing.
The Charlotte diocese claims the alleged abuse happened “years ago.” It’s disturbing that, whenever a brave victim comes forward, Catholic officials stress how long ago the crimes happened. This is a bald-faced effort to distance themselves from the horror of child sexual assault, and lull parishioners and the public into believing that a dangerous predator is somehow less dangerous because of the mere passage of time.
Instead of routinely practicing this “damage control,” Catholic officials should be reminding people that child predators rarely stop molesting and, in fact, often get more shrewd and cunning and effective over time, because they learn how to better pick kids who can’t tell or won’t be believed and how to better ‘explain away’ their suspicious behavior.
We hope that current and former church members and employees in each of the towns where Kelleher worked (Greenville, Charlotte, High Point, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Asheboro, Waynesville, Albemarle, Asheville, Hendersonville, Lexington, Lincolnton) will ask their loved ones if Kelleher hurt them and, if so, will prod other victims to contact therapists, police, support groups and other independent sources of help.
(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 22 years and have more than 9,000 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)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina
July 6, 2010
Notice Regarding Father Joseph Kelleher
An accusation involving sexual misconduct with a young person has been made against Father Joseph Kelleher concerning an incident which occurred many years ago in Albemarle, North Carolina. Father Kelleher is the chaplain at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School. In accord with diocesan policy, Father Kelleher has been placed on administrative leave pending a further investigation.
The Diocese is cooperating fully with the investigation by the authorities. The Review Board of the Diocese of Charlotte is also conducting its own investigation of the allegation.
The Diocese of Charlotte has a commitment to providing a safe environment for all people, especially the young and vulnerable. In 2002, the U.S. bishops issued the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” The charter addresses the Catholic Church’s commitment to respond effectively, appropriately and compassionately to cases of abuse of young people by priests, deacons or other church personnel.
The Policy of the Diocese of Charlotte Concerning Ministry-Related Sexual Misconduct by Church Personnel covers requirements for reporting abuse; screening of clergy, religious, seminarians and lay employees; procedures when allegations are made; education; media and communications; and sanctions for non–compliance. All diocesan personnel who work with young people receive a copy of the policy, acknowledge its receipt and are required to comply with the policy in its entirety. The policy is posted on the diocesan website, www.CharlotteDiocese.org.
Parishes in the dioceses of Charlotte and Raleigh where Father Joseph Kelleher served.
Parish and School Ministry - BeganDiocesan Missionary Apostolate (Saint Gabriel Church), Greenville - Mar 1966
Saint Patrick, Charlotte - Sep 1966
Immaculate Heart of Mary, High Point - Apr 1968
Our Lady of Lourdes, Raleigh - Jun 1969
Bishop Mc Guinness High School, Winston‐Salem - May 1970
Saint Joseph, Asheboro - Jul 1971
Saint John, Waynesville - Aug 1971
Our Lady of the Annunciation, Albemarle - Apr 1973
Our Lady of the Assumption, Charlotte - Aug 1977
Saint Lawrence, Asheville - July 1986
Immaculate Conception, Hendersonville - Oct 1986
Sabbatical - Jul 1991
Our Lady of the Rosary, Lexington - Oct 1991
Bishop McGuiness High School, Winston‐ Salem (additional) - Aug 1993
Saint Dorothy, Lincolnton - Jul 1998
Retirement at his request - Jul 1999
Former Charlotte area priest facing sex abuse allegations
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has announced new sex abuse allegations against a retired local priest.
Sources tell WBTV Father Joseph Kelleher is accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy.
The abuse allegedly happened in Albemarle, NC, in the 1970s.
Seth Langson, an attorney with Karro, Sellers & Langson, is representing the victim. Langson, however, declined to comment on his client's case Tuesday evening.
Kelleher has served at several parishes across the area including St. Patrick in Charlotte (1966), Our Lady of the Annunciation in Albemarle (1973), Our Lady of the Assumption in Charlotte (1977) and Saint Dorothy in Lincolnton (1998). He retired in July of 1999. (Click here to see the list of parishes where Kelleher served.)
Currently, Kelleher is the chaplain at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Kernersville which is located near Winston-Salem. The Diocese has placed him on administrative leave pending an investigation into the allegations.
In a statement posted on its Web site, the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte says it is "cooperating fully with the investigation by the authorities" and is conducting its own investigation.
The Diocese also says it "has a commitment to providing a safe environment for all people, especially the young and vulnerable."
So far, authorities have not filed charges against Kelleher.
Copyright 2010 WBTV. All rights reserved.
Bishop McGuinness chaplain placed on leave after allegation
A chaplain at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of sexual misconduct, the Diocese of Charlotte announced Tuesday.
The allegation against Father Joseph Kelleher involves a young person and is alleged to have occurred several years ago in Albemarle, the diocese said. Kelleher served at Our Lady of Annunciation in Albemarle in 1973, but the diocese did not say if the allegation was based on the time while he was there.
Kelleher began his service with the church in 1966 and retired in 1999. He previously served with Bishop McGuinness twice, in 1970 and in 1993, the diocese said.
The Albemarle Police Department is investigating, and the Review Board of the Diocese of Charlotte is conducting an internal investigation.\
School chaplain put on administrative leave
KERNERSVILLE — The chaplain at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School has been placed on administrative leave due to an accusation involving sexual misconduct.
The accusation against Father Joseph Kelleher involves a young person and an incident that occurred "many years ago" in Albemarle, the Diocese of Charlotte stated on its Web site.
Under diocesan policy, Kelleher has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The Diocese stated it is cooperating with the investigation by authorities. The Review Board of the Diocese of Charlotte is also conducting its own investigation.
Kelleher previously worked at several other schools in the Triad before retiring at his request in July 1999.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests