Fr. Linus Hennessy – Diocese of Buffalo

| Oct 22, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Linus Hennessy

Diocese of Buffalo (Franciscan)

Ordained: <1949

Died: 1983

Assigned as follows:

  • St. Bernardine College (England)
  • Retreat ministry (Australia)
  • Bishop Timon High School (Buffalo, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Linus Hennessy:

Father Linus Hennessy was born and ordained a Franciscan Priest in Ireland. He is believed to have arrived in Buffalo, NY in 1954. Aside from his assignments, he also had a radio ministry called “Comfort My People” on the Christian Broadcasting Network. He died in May 1993.

According to media reports, in a 2015 news conference, a man publicly accused Father Hennessy of sexually abusing him as a 10-year-old boy for five years, first once a week, then daily, beginning in 1973. The abuse included oral sex, masturbation and attempted intercourse. The alleged victim said Father Hennessy was a father figure to him, who was assigned to help his single mom with her four children. The abuse occurred in his home when his mother was at work and at Bishop Timon High School. The suit alleges, after each incident Father Hennessy told the boy not to tell anyone what happened and offered him money to keep quiet.

“He started touching me, taking my hand and rubbing his leg, unzipping his pants [and] putting my hand in it,” the man said.

When he told his story to the Diocese of Buffalo in 2008, he was rejected due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. He was offered $50,000 to settle his claim, but he rejected it. He did allow payment for his counseling, and asked Pope Francis to investigate his case. Despite his plea for help, he never received a response from the Vatican.

In 2015, the man joined other alleged victims lobbying the state legislature for an extension of the Statute of Limitations so childhood victims could bring civil actions as adults. In August 2019, the man filed a lawsuit under the NY Child Victims Act.

In May 2019, another man alleged that he was molested as a teenager by Father Hennessy and Father White. “Hennessy punched me between the legs one time, so hard that I started to cry. He told me, ‘If you ever tell anyone about this, this will only be the beginning of what happens to you.’ I never said a word to anyone for almost fifty years.”

In October 2021, the Holy Name Province published a list of Franciscan friars with substantiated child sexual abuse and misconduct claims following a review of its files by an advisory firm. Linus Hennessy was one of 23 the friars named.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo and throughout New York. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Buffalo may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply. Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Buffalo if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your legal options today.