Catholic officials from the Archdiocese of New York remain silent about the removal of Fr. Thomas Devery; SNAP calls for transparency

It has been more than a week since Fr. Thomas Devery, Pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island, penned a letter to his parishioners announcing that he was "stepping aside" from ministry following a second allegation that he had abused a child.  Yet as far as we can tell, there has yet to be a formal announcement from the Archdiocese of New York and Cardinal Timothy Dolan about this additional accusation.

We are concerned that despite Fr. Devery's claim, he appears to still be ministering to the parishioners of Star of the Sea.  In yesterday's church bulletin, the priest wrote the 'Letter from the Pastor.' To us it appears that he has not "stepped down" completely. We do not believe that he should have had this opportunity to address those who received the bulletin. It is even more worrisome since it appears to us that some of the topics addressed in his missive subtly suggest that Fr. Devery is the 'real' victim.

However, what is most disturbing are the words of the bishop who presided at yesterday's mass at the parish (Go to 14:55 mark). The prelate does not express any concern for the two people who have accused Fr. Devery of child sexual abuse. Instead, the bishop emphasizes that the allegations are from "40 years ago," as if that somehow negates the accusations and exonerates the priest.

But this is not the first allegation against Fr. Devery. It is the second. We are concerned for the vulnerable children and adults who may have been endangered since the first accusation was made in 2017. As far as we can tell, the cleric was never removed from ministry following the first allegation, nor was the accusation ever publicly announced. Fr. Devery remained not only the Pastor of the parish, but the church also has a Catholic school for Pre-K to Grade 8 children.

In a letter to members of the Archdiocese of New York in September 2018, Cardinal Dolan wrote, "I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that, as your archbishop, I am with you, and I am committed to transparency, accountability, and action. That's what I've heard you request." 

We want to know where the "transparency, accountability, and action" are regarding this second allegation against Fr. Thomas Devery.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Brian Toale, SNAP New York (646-549-0372, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

Showing 2 comments

  • Gene Thomas Gomulka
    commented 2021-07-29 16:53:05 -0500
    Dolan did not inform the parishioners after the first suit because he did not want to have to remove Devery and notify parishes where Devery served which would increase the chances of other victims coming forward. He did the same thing with Chris O’Leary in St. Louis and has been doing the same ever since.
  • Michael McDonnell
    published this page in Official SNAP Media Statements 2021-07-26 09:10:53 -0500

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