Fr. Joseph Kenney – Archdiocese of Baltimore

by | Jul 23, 2023 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Joseph Kenney

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Joseph Kenney Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1943

Retired: 1987

Died: 2001

Assignment History:

  • 1943-1963: Shrine of the Little Flower (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1963-1967: St. Joseph (Taneytown, MD)
  • 1967-1973: St. Rita (Dundalk, MD)
  • 1973-1987: St. Clement I (Lansdowne, MD)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Joseph Kenney:

Fr. Joseph Kenney was ordained a Catholic priest and worked in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. In 2018, Fr. Kenney was listed on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors list. In April 2023, Maryland’s Attorney General released a report alleging 156 Catholic clergy members sexually abused at least 600 children over six decades. The report lists the names of the abusers, including Father Joseph Kenney.

According to the Attorney General’s report, in 1985, a woman reported to the Archdiocese of Baltimore that she was sexually abused by Fr. Kenney. From the ages of 4 to 8 years old while Kenney was assigned to the Shrine of the Little Flower. She stated that her family lived close to the church and school, owned a local business and that Fr. Kenney was a friend of her father’s. The woman claimed that Kenney would ask to take the girl to come to the rectory for “a lollipop.” The abuse consisted of touching, fondling, and rubbing against her while holding her against her will. She remembers incidents in the school basement also. As she grew older, she learned to avoid Kenney. The victim indicated that another woman had been sexually abused by Kenney as well when she attended St. Rita’s. After several years of therapy, the victim reported the abuse at age 38 in the hope of preventing another child from going through the pain she went through. The bishop acknowledged her letter and told the victim that he would follow up; however, nothing was ever done, and Kenney continued as a priest until his retirement in 1987. In 2018, the archdiocese finally reported the abuse to authorities and listed him as credibly accused.

In April 2002, another victim came forward and reported that in the 1940s, when she was about 12 years old, she volunteered as a receptionist after school in the rectory at the Shrine of the Little Flower. She recalled an incident where Fr. Kenney embraced her from behind and put his cheek next to hers. She could tell that Kenney was sexually aroused at the time because he was pressed up against her back, and she could feel his erection.

In May 2002, another victim reported that she was sexually abused by Fr. Kenney in a storeroom at the Shrine of the Little Flower when she was around 14 years old, in approximately 1952-1953.

In March 2019, a man contacted the archdiocese to report that his sister and cousin had both been sexually abused as children in the 1960s by Fr. Kenney, who was their relative. The abuse of both girls consisted of touching, “open mouth,” kissing, and rubbing against the girls with his erect penis. The archdiocese made mandatory reports to authorities for each allegation they received.

In April 2019, a male victim reported that he was sexually abused by Fr. Kenney when he was approximately five years old when Kenney was assigned to St. Joseph in Taneytown. The abuse occurred in the boy’s bedroom, where Kenney fondled the boy’s genitals.

In September 2021, the Office of the Attorney General interviewed an additional victim. She stated that Fr. Kenney abused her when she was 4-5 years old in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Kenney kissed her with an open mouth, and she felt his erect penis. The abuse continued into her teenage years. She stated that her cousin was also a victim of Kenney and that her mother confronted him at some point. The victim said she had called Kenney once to forgive him as she “wanted to get rid of it.” Kenney never apologized but commended her on her ability to forgive.

Fr. Kenney died in 2001.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Maryland. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maryland, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help. Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.