Accused monsignor sues Archdiocese of New York for libel

Details from the AP:

A defrocked Roman Catholic monsignor who once led fundraising for the Archdiocese of New York has sued the church for libel.

Charles Kavanagh’s lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan. Kavanagh accuses the archdiocese of libeling him by saying he had sexually abused a teenage student in the 1980s even though the now-middle-aged man admits he lied.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

The church defrocked the 74-year-old Kavanagh in 2010, eight years after the accuser claimed the clergyman touched him inappropriately during a trip to Washington D.C.

Kavanagh was the archdiocese’s vicar of development in the 1990s.

More details from NBC:

[Daniel] Donohue had claimed Kavanaugh jumped into his bed in the D.C.-area hotel room and rubbed against him. Donohue also said that when Kavanaugh held his hands during prayer, it made him uncomfortable.

“The pointed finger has come back. He has withdrawn the only allegation against Monsignor Kavanaugh,” said Kavanaugh’s attorney John Dearie.

For 10 years, Kavanaugh fought to clear his name. He originally filed a lawsuit against Donohue, but dropped it after Donohue admitted his story about what  happened 30 years ago was false.

Kavanaugh was convicted at a church trial. In May, Catholic church spokesman Joseph Zwilling said in a news release that Kavanaugh deserved to be kicked out of the church because there were “multiple counts” of sexual abuse.

“That is a flat-out lie. There are not multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor,” said Kavanaugh’s sister and attorney Ann Mandt.  “And that’s why we sued them. Because it is a lie.”

Zwilling said Wednesday that church attorneys are now reviewing the defamation lawsuit.

“I stand by the truthfulness and accuracy of my May 1, 2012 statement,” he said.

You can read that statement in full here. 


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