Trials & Litigation

Once High-Ranking Priest, Now Defrocked, Sues Accuser Who Testified in Church Trial for Defamation


Found guilty by a church tribunal in 2006 of sexually abusing a minor decades ago and subsequently defrocked, a high-ranking former New York priest has now turned the tables on his accuser.

Onetime monsignor Charles Kavanagh, 73, has filed a defamation suit against the former seminary student in federal court in Manhattan, contending that the defendant lied to reporters about the sexual abuse in order to extract a monetary settlement from the New York archdiocese, reports the New York Post.

The complaint points to newspaper headlines, such as one in the Post calling Kavanagh a “Pervert Priest,” to substantiate its allegations that he was “held up to ridicule and scorn” as a result of the accusations. However, it doesn’t name any news organization as a defendant, the Post reports.

The article doesn’t include any comment from the man sued by Kavanagh or his lawyer.

Once the chief fundraiser for the archdiocese, Kavanagh was convicted in 2006, following a canonical trial, of committing two lewd acts against his accuser, who was a student at Cathedral Preparatory Seminary in Manhattan between 1978 and 1982.

Additional coverage:

CNN: “New York priest defrocked for child sex abuse”

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