Msgr. Kenneth F. O’Connell – Archdiocese of New York

| Aug 12, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Monsignor Kenneth F. O’Connell

Archdiocese of New York

Ordained: 1956

Died: 1984

Assigned as follows:

  • 1956-1959: St. Joseph’s (New York, NY)
  • 1959-1970: Sacred Heart (Mt. Vernon, NY)
  • 1970-1981: St. Bernard’s (New York, NY)
  • 1973-1975: National Catholic Committee on Scouting; Archdiocesan Boy Scouts (New York, NY)
  • 1973-1978: Archdiocesan Catholic Youth Organizations (New York NY)
  • 1981-1984: SS. John and Paul (Larchmont, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Monsignor Kenneth F O’Connell:

Msgr. Kenneth F O’Connell served as an assistant at parishes in Manhattan and Mt. Vernon before being named pastor in Larchmont in 1981. Throughout his career, he was involved with the Catholic Boy Scouts, locally and nationally. He also held leadership positions for the Archdiocesan Catholic Youth Organizations. In 1973, O’Connell founded a scouting camp called Camp Spes Mundi, in Hope Falls, New York.

According to media reports, in May 2017, a retired Navy Officer alleged publicly that O’Connell sexually abused him in 1973 when he was a 12-year-old boy at Camp Spes Mundi Boy Scout Camp in Hope Falls, New York. At the time of the abuse, O’Connell was Chaplain of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.

The former boy scout said that he was prescribed muscle relaxants by a doctor after injuring his ribs while wrestling with other campers. That was when O’Connell had him spend the night in his room to “keep an eye” on him, then forcefully sodomized him.

“He raped me, he sodomized me. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. I went in and out of consciousness from the pain,” the alleged victim said. “He never said a word the whole time. It was brutal.”

O’Connell left camp the next day and he never saw him again. His accuser received a financial settlement from the archdiocese in May 2017 through its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).

In April 2019, O’Connell’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).

O’Connell died in 1984.

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