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SNAP of Tennessee

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee 

Attorney: Archdiocese hid abuse

Alleged victim told to talk to priests, not outside counselors

By Tom Beyerlein

Dayton Daily News

The Rev. David Kelley was assigned to a Vandalia parish in 1984 after the Cincinnati archdiocese learned of allegations that he had fondled at least two male students of Cincinnati's Elder High School during parties in Kelley's private room at a rectory, according to papers filed in court Tuesday.

Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk told a rehabilitation center for sexually abusive priests of Kelley's history after the archdiocese sent him there for treatment in late 1986, the court papers show.

"Fearing the real possibility of widespread scandal and possible further harm to students, as well as the reputation of the school, (Kelley) was told that he would have to leave the faculty and the parish," Pilarczyk wrote to the Servants of the Paraclete center in Jemez Springs, N.M. "He was then assigned to St. Christopher parish, near Dayton, Ohio, as associate pastor."

Konrad Kircher, a Mason attorney representing dozens of purported victims of child sexual abuse by priests, said Pilarczyk's letter and other correspondence he filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court show the Cincinnati Archdiocese used "fraudulent concealment" to cover up for abusive priests. Kircher argues that the cover-up means the statute of limitations shouldn't be up on decades-old abuse allegations.

Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco called Kircher's argument "the same kind of boilerplate rhetoric that he's been using for over a year in his so-far unsuccessful lawsuits. This is a new filing, but this is not a new argument — at all."

A Cincinnati appeals court three weeks ago dismissed several of Kircher's lawsuits against the archdiocese because the statute of limitations has expired.

But Kircher said the letters, which he obtained from the archdiocese last month during the discovery process in another court case, paint a picture of church leaders who are more concerned with covering for priests than helping their victims.

In another letter Kircher filed in court, the then-pastor of St. Christopher wrote to Kelley in May 1986 that he asked an archdiocese official to reassign Kelley because the priest allowed a high school student to spend the night in his room against the pastor's orders.

"Frankly," the pastor told Kelley, "this frightens the hell out of me!"

The pastor, whose name is redacted from the letter taken from Archdiocese of Cincinnati files, told Kelley that if he left the parish for counseling, "not a single person in the parish will suspect a thing when you leave. I will safeguard your reputation insofar as I can."

In yet another letter from 1986, the director of priest personnel for the archdiocese, the Rev. Paul Rehling, told Pilarczyk he should advise a purported victim of Kelley's to seek counseling from another priest, not an outside therapist.

"The problem: If the young man were to talk to a professional counselor, that person may report the accused priest to civil authorities," Rehling told Pilarczyk.

Rehling told Pilarczyk that Kelley seemed to be "another time bomb waiting to go off."

The following day, Pilarczyk wrote a note to a priest telling him to encourage the victim to talk to "a skillful priest counselor."

Kelley served at the all-boys Elder High from his 1974 ordainment until 1984, when he was assigned to St. Christopher, 435 E. National Road, which operates an elementary school.

According to Pilarczyk's December 1986 letter to the treatment center, Elder's principal reported in fall 1983 that the parents of at least two students said their sons had been at parties at Kelley's living quarters at the rectory.