Fr. James E. Kelly – Diocese of Albany

| Jun 27, 2019 | Catholic Church, Sex

Father James E. Kelly

Diocese of Albany

Ordained: 1957

Removed: 2003

Assigned as follows:

  • 1969-1974: Keveny Academy (Cohoes, NY)
  • 1969-1983: Father Flanagan’s Boys Town (Boys Town, NE)
  • 1983-1984: St. Joseph (Cohoes, NY)
  • 1985-1988: St. Agnes/St. Patrick’s (Cohoes, NY)
  • 1989-1992: Saratoga County Jail

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father James E Kelly:

According to media reports, in 2003, two men filed separate lawsuits alleging a priest and a counselor molested them in the 1970s. Father James E Kelly, was accused of sexual abuse while chaplain at Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, a home for troubled and handicapped youth in Nebraska. The men said Kelly repeatedly abused them in the 1970s, but they repressed the memories of it until February 2002. Kelly, who left Boys Town in 1983, denied the accusations, but did recall asking teenage boys to drop their pants for “a few whacks on the bare behind.” Five other men filed suit against Kelly alleging sexual abuse.

One alleged victim said, “He was a freak in confession. … He would touch you and he would feel you.” He said he did not report the abuse because he did not think anyone would believe him. “This was a man of God.”

At the time of the accusations, Kelley was assigned to the Diocese of Albany. Albany Bishop Hubbard removed Kelly from active ministry, one day after learning of the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Omaha. Bishop Hubbard conducted no preliminary investigation because Kelly had faced a previous complaint of sexual misconduct with a child when he was working in Rensselaer, according to a church statement. The complaint came from the parents in 1983 and 1984, when he served at St. Joseph’s parish and school.

Diocesan officials said the allegations were investigated and determined that there was “nothing sexual” about Kelly’s use of corporal punishment, and it did not constitute sexual abuse. Nevertheless, he was sent for residential therapy in California and evaluated by church counselors before returning to ministry. He was moved from place to place every few years.

In February 2006, judges dismissed the lawsuits alleging sexual abuse at Boys Town, saying that the statute of limitations had passed on their claims.

At the time Kelly was placed on leave, he worked at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City. At least six other alleged victims from NY came forward after the new allegations were reported.

In November 2018, Kelly’s name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Albany’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Albany. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Albany, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Albany now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Call us at 888-283-9922 or send an email to [email protected] to discuss your options today.