Morally Compromised NY Governor and Legislature Destroy Reputations

There has been no investigation, yet.  There is not yet a credible allegation.  There are no other accusations against this man.  Yet the New York Law which went into effect yesterday has destroyed a priest’s reputation callously and totally without evidence.  The state justice system that allows innocent babies to be wiped out of existence, now also allows people to be accused of supposed ancient crimes by people who have kept silent until this hour.  Fr. O’Malley has been accused of sexual abuse which supposedly happened decades ago.  Nothing derogatory has ever been said against him.  In the O’Malley case, evidence may be forthcoming, but usually before such public allegations are made an investigation has already occurred.  Not so here.  The new law has extended the statute of limitations for sexual abuse for a limited time.  And from first reports, lots of folks are taking advantage of it.  Whether it is the Church, the Boy Scouts, or some other charitable organization, the lust for financial gain will prove to be too much for some.  No doubt there will be some credible allegations made, but the New York Legislature and the Governor have turned the quest for justice in this area into a chaotic rugby scrum.  Shame on them.

A Stunning And Suspicious Accusation

From everything we know, Fr. William O’Malley, S.J. is a good, decent, and even holy man.  A well-respected teacher and author, he has always appeared to be the Jesuit’s Jesuit.  The character he played in the Exorcist was a small, but crucial one, and he handled it expertly and movingly.  Then he went on to teach the Catholic faith to lots of kids and adults.  No one ever accused him of abuse…ever.  But now some one did.  That person alleges that it occurred during the mid-1980’s, in the halls and classrooms of a high school.  Think about that for a second.  These would be very public places.  A long time ago. With no one ever reporting it until now. Some psychiatrists say it is not unusual for victims to remain silent that long.  But this is a different case.  O’Malley is well-known, has always been in the area, taught at the school where the alleged abuse happened for years before and decades after the accusation.  Hard to believe no one knew.  Hard to believe this is anything but an attempt at financial gain.  I’ll be the first to apologize if I am wrong.  But in our justice system, you don’t convict someone without evidence and a trial.  Fr. O’Malley has had neither.  He is 87 years old.  You bet I’m going to sympathize with him until I find out if the accuser has a credible story.  He deserves the presumption of innocence from the start.  People say, “What about the victim?”  We do not know there is a victim yet.  If and when we do, then we minister to him.

The Power Of Christ Commands Us

On film, Fr. O’Malley played Fr. Dyer, the friend of the exorcist.  He supported his friend, the exorcist, as the man struggled with his own demons.  He held him as he lay dying after the horrific fall from the window.  It was a powerful and moving film.  When I went to school in D.C. back in the ’80’s, all of us went to see that window and the stairs that played so much a part in the finale.  It was a very famous landmark.  Haunting with a stench of evil.  Fr. O’Malley played one of the good guys in the film.  I’d like to think he is one of the good guys in real life.  And until I am convinced otherwise by facts, I’m going to stand by his side and help keep the devil and the darkness away.

One of the best lines in the movie was when the exorcist expels the devil with the words, “The Power of Christ commands you.”  In the case of Fr. O’Malley, he deserves people who will scope out the truth and publish it no matter what.  And if he is innocent, we all need to shout it from the rooftops.  The Power of Christ commands all of us.


Here’s the full article from Rolling Stone

The former student, identified only by the initials “J.W.,” accused O’Malley of abusing him “multiple times” in 1985 and 1986 when he was 17 years old. J.W. claimed the alleged abuse took place in McQuaid classrooms or hallways, while other incidents occurred at school-sponsored activities, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports (via USA Today).

O’Malley started working at McQuaid in 1965, teaching English and religion and also serving as the school’s drama director. He was a beloved member of the school staff, and his stature only grew after his star-making turn as Father Joseph Dyer in TheExorcist, which was released in 1973. While the film allowed O’Malley to enjoy some of the fruits of fame and take some time off from teaching to explore acting and writing, he eventually returned to McQuaid in 1975, telling the Democrat and Chronicle at the time, “I was a moonlight actor, but I’m a teacher. My life is with the kids.”

O’Malley left McQuaid and began teaching at the Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx at the start of the 1986 – 1987 school year, one year after the alleged abuse at McQuaid took place. In 2012, O’Malley was let go from Fordham Prep, with the school president telling the New York Post that his teaching style “was probably more abrasive than we are used to.”

A spokesman for McQuaid told the Democrat and Chronicle that the school had no record of any sexual abuse allegations or offenses involving O’Malley, adding they only learned about the allegation when the suit was filed this week. A spokesman for the Jesuit province for the Northeast also denied knowing about any allegations against O’Malley. However, the Democrat and Chronicle previously raised questions about how McQuade and the province have handled their responses to sexual abuse in an extensive report published in January.

About Monsignor Eric R. Barr, STL
Monsignor Barr is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois. In his 35 years of priesthood, he has been pastor, principal, teacher, Vicar for Clergy and Vicar General. He is a former associate editor of a newspaper and a novelist. He speaks on Celtic Theology and Current Catholic Issues. You can read more about the author here.

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