Fr. Sean Leo Rooney – Archdiocese of New Orleans

| Oct 8, 2021 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Fr. Sean Leo Rooney

Archdiocese of New Orleans/Salesians

Ordained: 1966

Laicized: 2008

Settlement: 2014

Assignment History

  • 1959-1968: St. Dominic Savio High School (Boston, MA)
  • 1968-1971: Salesian Day High School for Boys; Salesian Resident Junior Seminary; Camp Salesian for Boys; Salesian Retreat House for Boys; Salesian Boys Club (Cedar Lake, IN)
  • 1971-1975: Don Bosco Technical High School (Paterson, NJ)
  • 1975-1979: Archbishop Shaw High School (Marrero, LA)
  • 1979-1981: Salesian Junior Seminary (Goshen, NY)
  • 1981-1983: Don Bosco High School for Boys (Ramsey, NJ)
  • 1983-2003: St. John Bosco Church (Birmingham, AL)
  • 1983-2003: Holy Rosary (Birmingham, AL)
  • 2003-2008: Salesian Provincial House (New Rochelle, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Sean Leo Rooney

In March 2020, the Salesians publicly listed Fr. Sean Leo Rooney on its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. While the list does not mention any allegations specifically, there are at least two known allegations of sexual abuse lodged against Fr. Sean Leo Rooney—one made in 2013 and another in 2020.

2013 Lawsuit and Allegation

In December 2013, a former student of Fr. Sean Leo Rooney filed a lawsuit alleging the priest repeatedly abused him when he was a student at Salesian Junior Seminary in Goshen, NY. According to the complaint, the victim was 14 years old when Fr. Rooney “repeatedly engaged in explicit sexual behavior” with him.

Ultimately, the victim received a settlement in 2014. The size of the settlement, however, is unknown.

2020 Lawsuit and Allegation

In February 2020, another former student (the Plaintiff) of Fr. Sean Leo Rooney alleged the priest abused him more than 100 times in the 1970s—which started when the Plaintiff was 13 years old.

In his complaint against the Diocese of Paterson, N.J., the Plaintiff says Fr. Rooney abused him in various locations on the campus of Don Bosco Technical High School. The Plaintiff also states that Fr. Rooney groomed him and gave him alcohol.

Fr. Sean Leo Rooney’s Career and Assignment History

Although Fr. Sean Leo Rooney professed his vows as a Salesian brother in 1958, he was not ordained until 1966. During that time, sources indicate Fr. Rooney was working at St. Dominic Savio High School, which had around 300 all-male students.

In the mid-to-late 1970s, Fr. Rooney’s assignment history reveals that Fr. Rooney worked at high schools with more than 400 all-male students, including Don Bosco Technical High School and Archbishop Shaw—which had nearly 1,000 all-male students.

In 2002, while working in a low-income community in Birmingham, Alabama, sources say Fr. Rooney served as administrator of a ministry outreach program that targeted youth in the local housing projects.

According to sources, Fr. Sean Leo Rooney served for nearly 40 years before he was removed in 2008. At the time of his removal, Fr. Rooney was assigned to the Salesian Provincial House in New York.

Fr. Rooney is believed to be residing in Prescott, Arizona.

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