Fr. Vincent Dwyer – Diocese of Monterey

| Nov 30, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Vincent Dwyer

Diocese of Monterey/Trappist/Cistercian

Ordained: 1961

Settled: 1995

Assignment History:

  • 1961-1962: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Middlebury, VT)
  • 1962-1969: Joseph’s Abbey (Spencer, MA)
  • 1969-1970: On Sick Leave
  • 1970-1971: Leave of Absence
  • 1971-1972: 9720 University City Blvd., Apt. L (Charlotte, NC)
  • 1972-1977: Mary’s College (Winona, MN)
  • 1977-1978: University of Notre Dame (Ft. Wayne, IN)
  • 1978-1981: Joseph’s Abbey (Spencer, MA)
  • 1981-1982: Catholic University (Washington D.C.)
  • 1982-2002: Joseph’s Abbey (Spencer, MA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Vincent Dwyer:

Between 1962-1969, Fr. Vincent Dwyer was assigned to St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA, in a community of Trappist monks.

In 1969, Fr. Vincent Dwyer began a sexual involvement with a 15-year-old girl that continued intermittently until she was 28. At the time, the girl was a student at Santa Catalina School in the Monterey Diocese. Dwyer had been invited to the school from MA to lead a spiritual retreat.

The Start of a 12-Year “Affair” Between Fr. Vincent Dwyer and a 15-Year-Old Girl

Ft. Vincent Dwyer was visiting Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California on a 3-day retreat when he first met the young girl.

According to media reports, the girl stated that Fr. Vincent Dwyer made her feel special. They would walk around the campus and sit around in the school dining room and talked. “I felt special and listened to”, she recalled.

After the visit, before Fr. Vincent Dwyer headed back to Massachusetts, he gave the girl his address and telephone number and told her to call him at any time. The girl sent him a thank-you note and their involvement continued from there with them speaking on the phone to then Dwyer visiting the girl in California. According to media reports, the young girl said the relationship became physical one summer, shortly after her 16th birthday. Throughout the next decade, the young girl and Fr. Vincent Dwyer would occasionally see each other and kept in contact, which then ended in 1991.

The California woman struggled with depression for many years as a result of the “affair”. She sought payment from the Trappists for her therapy bills. In 1995, the victim received a settlement from the St. Joseph’s Abbey Trappists. They had her sign a confidentiality agreement. However, she spoke out publicly in 2002 and filed suit against the Monterey Diocese in 2004.

One of the reasons she decided to speak on the incident was motivated by her resentment of accolades that Dwyer had received. According to media reports, Dwyer was the recipient of the President’s Award from the National Federation of Priests’ Councils in 1998. According to the federation’s website, it is given for “an outstanding career exemplifying the best of priesthood”. The case settled quickly for $75,000.

Another Allegation Against Dwyer

Several years after the California woman’s settlement, in 1999, a man emerged with an allegation against Dwyer and the man filed suit in Worcester, MA.

In 2004, Rev. Sylvester D. Ryan, Bishop of Monterey, listed a few priests that had sexual misconduct cases against them concerning the Diocese of Monterey in his Pastoral Letter. Shockingly, Fr. Vincent Dwyer was not listed under a category of any sexual misconduct, rather, Dwyer was listed under the third category: cases involving a religious entity or priest, not under the control of the Diocese of Monterey. He stated his case as “allegedly involving a Trappist monk named Fr. Vincent Dwyer that occurred at an independent Catholic school in Monterey in 1969”.

Although Bishop Accountability lists Dwyer’s assignment history as remaining in St. Joseph’s Abbey from 1982-2002, according to a media source, Dwyer left there approximately 1997 due to medical reasons and lives with his brother.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Monterey in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Monterey now have legal options due to a voluntary compensation fund created by the Diocese of Monterey, 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 California and nationwide. We can help.

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