Sins of a Father

Priest accused of child molesting ,as well as fathering a baby girl, shielded by Bishop Thomas O'Brien

O'Brien became bishop of the Phoenix Diocese three years later, in 1982.

According to New Times sources, Colleary was later transferred to a church in Buckeye, then to Glendale, then to Chandler, and, most recently, to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale.

Bishop O'Brien refuses to discuss this issue, or any issue, with New Times.

Doris Kennedy lost track of Father Pat's whereabouts through those years. But she did know he had been transferred somewhere in the West Valley.

"I worried about the children out there," she says.

Doris Kennedy says her son refused to talk about the incident. A month ago, though, she says her son saw O'Brien and area priests on television talking about how they did not, and would not, tolerate child molestation in their diocese.

"That was it for him," she says.

Two weeks ago, she says, "my son spent four hours at the Phoenix Chancery . . . giving them his story of abuse by Father Pat. They gave my son a list of therapists and said they would pay for him to go to one and apologized profusely for the pain he had been caused. They said they would confront Father Pat and quote: 'We will come down hard on Father Colleary.'

"They were supposed to call my son [April 23] but he hasn't heard a word. We smell the Wall of Silence being put in place, once again."

Doris' son refused to discuss the issue with me. His mother says he is worried about the pain the public disclosure would cause. He has, however, contacted an attorney regarding a possible civil suit, she says.

Although her son asked her not to talk publicly, Doris Kennedy says she feels she must. She says she is worried that there are other children, and other parents, who have suffered. She says she feels compelled to stop any further abuse.

"It's awful, it's so hard, but somebody has to talk," she says. "This whole problem goes on and on because people are afraid to talk. And that just allows the Diocese to keep covering it up. And that just allows the predators to keep abusing children."

In the case of Father Colleary, it appears the prey was anyone who was vulnerable.

Sharon Roy says she went to Colleary in 1978 for solace and counseling following the death of her sister.

After several counseling sessions at the church, Roy says, Colleary asked to meet her at her apartment.

"He charges in and says, 'You don't know how long I've been waiting for this,'" Roy says. "He raped me then and there. Then I'm sitting there crying saying we need to talk about what just happened, that I need some answers. And he just turns on the 10 o'clock news."

A few months later, Roy says she told Colleary she was pregnant. She says he told her to have the baby adopted, or get an abortion.

But she kept the girl and raised her. She asked for help paying for the child, but Colleary and the Diocese refused.

In 1994, she again went to the Diocese asking for help in supporting her child. She felt that was the least she deserved since she had been raped by one of the diocesan priests.

"They told me it couldn't be rape because I was an adult," she says. "They said that meant it was consensual. I just couldn't believe it."

Not only did Bishop O'Brien's diocese refuse to supply child support for the priest's little girl, it kept him on the payroll in the face of continued complaints of abominable sexual behavior.

Finally, in 1995, Roy filed for child support with the Department of Economic Security's Child Support Enforcement Administration in Phoenix. The Diocese quietly garnished $400 a month from Father Colleary's wages to support his daughter.

Roy says she continues to receive $400 each month from the Diocese to compensate for the child support she didn't receive from 1979 to 1994.

"It is awful dealing with them," she says. "They intimidate you to the nth degree, make you feel like you're the bad person."

Roy says that she and Colleary attended parent-counseling classes together after his paternity was confirmed. During counseling, she says, Colleary talked about the secret troubles he was having within the Diocese.

She says he told her about another allegation against him, an anonymous letter sent to the Diocese from a person who claims to have witnessed Colleary fondling a student at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale.

She alleges he described another incident in Tempe where he was caught by a mother in bed with the woman's two sons.

"The incident with this Kennedy family must be yet another one," she says.

Soon after the Glendale incident, Roy claims that Colleary spent a short sabbatical at St. Luke's Institute in Maryland, a Catholic psychotherapy hospital that treats priests for pedophilia and lack of sexual control, as well as other diseases.

Roy tracked his return. She says he was transferred to St. Timothy's in Chandler, home of the church's internationally known teen program, Life Teen.

In January, a Life Teen church volunteer, Mark Gherna, was charged with 15 counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of furnishing obscene materials to a minor.

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