Fr. Thomas J. O’Rourke – Diocese of Brooklyn

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Thomas J. O’Rourke

Diocese of Brooklyn

Ordained: 1963

Died: 1998

Assigned as follows:

  • 1964-1969: Corpus Christi, Woodside (Queens, NY)
  • 1970-1976: American Martyrs, Bayside (Queens, NY)
  • 1977-1981: Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception (Douglaston, NY)
  • 1982: Mary Louis Academy (Queens, NY)
  • 1988: Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception (Douglaston, NY)
  • 1991: Cathedral Residence of the Immaculate Conception (Douglaston, NY)
  • 1992-1998: St. Mary Star of the Sea (Brooklyn, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Thomas J O’Rourke:

According to media reports, in October 2002, Fr. Thomas J O’Rourke was named in a civil lawsuit with eleven other priests and a religious brother, alleging he repeatedly sexually abused a minor altar boy at Corpus Christi in Woodside, New York, in the 1960s.

In 2003, a second civil lawsuit was filed alleging he sexually abused a 14-year-old boy at a hotel in Chevy Chase, Maryland, while on a trip to the Naval Academy in the summer of 1974. He was a trusted friend of the boy’s family.

“Then the assault occurred,” the alleged victim said. “By a medical definition, there was no penetration, but it was an aggressive, overpowering, violent assault. He finishes up, pats me on the back, and goes to sleep. This wasn’t a situation where he put his hand in the wrong place. It was premeditated.”

He said he crawled out of the bed and spent the rest of the night locked in the bathroom. The priest never mentioned what happened the following morning. “I was scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen next,” he recalled.

A third survivor alleged he was sexually abused by O’Rourke as a minor in the 1960s. O’Rourke was reportedly sent for treatment at St. Luke Institute, an institution known for treating priests accused of child sexual abuse, in the 1990s. Despite his admission to abusing at least one minor boy, he was recommended to return to ministry.

In February 2019, O’Rourke’s name appeared on the Diocese of Brooklyn’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. In September 2019, he was named in a suit filed under the NY Child Victims Act alleging child sexual abuse.

O’Rourke’s died in 1998.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Brooklyn, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn 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.