Father Charles McDonagh
Archdiocese of New York
Assigned as follows:
- 1964-1966: St. John’s (Bronx, NY)
- 1967: St. Stephen’s (New York, NY)
- 1968-1970: St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York, NY)
- 1971: Cardinal Hayes High School (Bronx, NY)
- 1972-1977: Our Lady of Refuge (Bronx, NY)
- 1978-1984: St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York, NY)
- 1985-1996: Benedictine Hospital (Kingston, NY)
- 1997-1999: St. Joseph Church (Kingston, NY)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Charles McDonagh:
Msgr. Charles McDonagh served in multiple parishes in New York. According to media reports, in January 2019, he was publicly accused of repeatedly sexually abusing two minor sisters, ages 13 and 7, for five years from 1972 to 1977 when he worked at Our Lady of Refuge in Bronx, New York. The alleged abuse occurred in the girls’ home when McDonagh would “bless” the girls in bed. The abuse stopped when he was promoted as secretary to Cardinals Cooke and then O’Connor.
“We would dread the sound of the stairs creaking,” one victim said. “We knew what was coming. Father McDonagh would sit on our beds and proceed to talk quietly to us […] then he would molest my sister and I.”
According to media reports, the girls’ mother told Fr. Benedict Groeschel in the 1990s, yet the Archdiocese denied receiving any allegations prior to a report made to the Archdiocese’s compensation program. In 2012, Groeschel sparked outrage when he said that “youngsters” were often to blame when priests sexually abused them and that priests should not be jailed for such abuse on their first offense.
In April 2019, McDonagh’s name appeared on the Archdiocese of New York’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. Claims against him are eligible to be settled through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP). In July 2019, settlements for each of the two alleged victims were announced. One of the sisters said that a third, older sister, was also a target of McDonagh.
McDonagh died in 1999.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of New York. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest or other Catholic clergy in New York State, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of New York now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help.