The Archdiocese of New York has suspended a priest who had continued his clerical duties despite two settlements paid for allegations of sexual abuse of teenage boys.
The Rev. Donald G. Timone, 84, is the subject of an internal investigation by the archdiocese, but had continued to celebrate Mass in New York and California, more than a year and a half after an archdiocesan compensation program paid settlements to the two men, as detailed last week by The New York Times.
A spokesman for the archdiocese, Joseph Zwilling, said on Friday that the archdiocese would no longer allow Father Timone to remain in ministry while it weighed permanently removing him.
One of the men who came forward with claims of abuse by Father Timone committed suicide in 2015 after what his widow said was a decades-long struggle to come to terms with the abuse.
In recent years, Father Timone has been dividing his time between New York and California, where his niece lives.
Lidy Connolly, the vice president of administration at John Paul the Great Catholic University in California, where Father Timone has been working as a chaplain, spiritual adviser and teacher, said that the Archdiocese of New York had informed the university on Wednesday that Father Timone’s letter of good standing — a required credential for a priest — had been revoked. He was no longer working there, she said.
A church secretary at the Church of the Nativity in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., where Father Timone often assisted as a priest, said on Thursday that Father Timone was no longer listed on the Mass schedule. He had been scheduled to be a celebrant as recently as Dec. 16, according to the church bulletin.
Father Timone has been active since the 1980s with Courage, an international Catholic ministry that counsels people who experience same-sex attraction to remain celibate, in accordance with Catholic teaching. He spoke at the group’s national conference in 2017, and has continued to counsel young people and their families as a spiritual adviser since his retirement as a priest.
In a letter posted on Friday on Courage’s website, the Rev. Philip G. Bochanski, the organization’s executive director, said that Father Timone had been “a friend and collaborator of the Courage Apostolate for many years.” He said that there were no allegations against Father Timone connected with his work at Courage, but he encouraged anyone with information to come forward.
Full story at The New York Times.