You are reading

Queens Catholic Priest Removed From Ministry Following Sexual Misconduct Investigation Involving Teens

Father John O’Connor, pictured, who was a pastor at St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose, has been removed from the priesthood following an investigation into sexual misconduct involving minors (Photo: Brooklyn Diocese)

Jan. 31, 2022 By Christian Murray

A pastor at a Queens catholic church has been removed from the ministry.

Father John O’Connor, 54, who was a pastor at St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose has been removed from the priesthood following an investigation into sexual misconduct involving minors, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn, which serves Brooklyn and Queens.

A decision to remove him was determined by the Diocesan Review Board—an independent investigatory panel established by the diocese—following an investigation into claims that he had inappropriate internet communications with teenagers in March 2000 while assigned to St. Athanasius in Brooklyn.

The review board had been investigating the claims following a lawsuit that had been filed against O’Connor pertaining to a Child Victims Act on Aug. 13, 2020.

“This investigation turned up new evidence,” the diocese said, which provided “sufficient information to substantiate allegations of sexual misconduct with minors via the internet.”

The diocese was aware of O’Connor’s past indiscretions.

After the accusation initially surfaced in 2000, the diocese placed O’Connor on leave to enable him to receive treatment from May 2000 to August 2001. He returned to ministry in the Diocese of Brooklyn in August of 2001, and continued treatment through 2005.

O’Connor’s removal from ministry, announced today, means that he is no longer permitted to celebrate church services publicly, cannot exercise any public ministerial duties, and cannot live in an ecclesiastical residence. His name is also being added to the diocese’s List of Credibly Accused Priests, which can be viewed on its website.

O’Connor was ordained on June 23, 1993 and completed post-graduate studies in Rome. He then served at the following parishes: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Athanasius and St. Clare’s in Brooklyn. He also served as pastor at Incarnation, in Queens Village, and most recently at St. Gregory the Great. O’Connor had been named the Director of the Liturgy Office for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The diocese said that it has a zero-tolerance policy pertaining to sexual misconduct. Clergy members who are credibly accused of sexual misconduct are permanently removed from ministry.

The diocese also said that it conducts initial and ongoing background checks of all employees and volunteers and provides age-appropriate sexual abuse awareness training for children and adults.

Anyone who has been the victim of clergy sexual abuse is encouraged to report it to law enforcement or to the Toll-Free Reporting Line established by the Diocese at 1-888-634-4499. All calls are forwarded to law enforcement officials.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Porn actor Ron Jeremy, who grew up in Bayside, found unable to stand trial for rape

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday, Jan. 17, declared that porn performer Ron Jeremy is mentally incompetent to stand trial on dozens of rape and sexual assault counts.

Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Harris said in a hearing that after reviewing reports from both prosecutors and Jeremy’s defense that he is in “incurable neurocognitive decline” from which he is unlikely to recover.