86-year-old Queens priest dismissed over credible allegations of child sexual abuse

Rev. Peter Mahoney (Photo: Church of St. Charles Borromeo)

November 22, 2021 By Christian Murray

An 86-year-old priest was removed from his post following an investigation by the Diocese of Brooklyn which determined that a pedophilia complaint against him dating back to the 1970s was credible.

Reverend Peter Mahoney, who ministered part-time to the Hispanic community at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Flushing and St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, Queens, is no longer allowed to celebrate Mass publicly or to exercise public prosecution. He is also not allowed to live in an ecclesiastical residence.

Mahoney was investigated over an allegation that he sexually assaulted a minor between 1975 and 1978 while serving at St. Martin of Tours in Brooklyn.

The allegation reached the Diocese of Brooklyn reporting line on October 2, 2020 and was referred for investigation and forwarded to law enforcement on that date.

The allegations, however, date back to the 1970s – so the statute of limitations for criminal investigations has passed.

The request, however, was investigated by the Independent Diocesan Review Board (DRB) and was found to be credible. Mahoney’s name is also credibly added to the list of accused priests on the Brooklyn Diocese website.

The diocese, which oversees church activity in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, said its finding should not be interpreted as a judgment of his guilt. However, it is a recognition of the possibility that wrongdoing may have taken place, and therefore, for the sake of the safety of parishioners, it was deemed necessary to remove him from the ministry.

On April 8, 2021, a lawsuit was filed against Mahoney under the Child Victims Act with an allegation from another plaintiff.

The Brooklyn Diocese said it has important programs in place to prevent sexual abuse and protect children. They include a zero tolerance policy which states that any member of the clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is permanently removed from office.

The diocese said it also conducts initial and ongoing background checks of all staff and volunteers and provides age-appropriate sexual abuse awareness training for children and adults.

Anyone who has been the victim of clergy sexual abuse is encouraged to report it to law enforcement or to the toll-free reporting line established by the diocese at 1-888-634-4499. All calls are forwarded to law enforcement.

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