Unholy Acts: Priests Who Abuse, Impregnate, and Push for Abortions

by | Jan 10, 2024 | Catholic Church

Unholy Acts: Priests Who Abuse Horowitz Law

There are numerous issues that lead to heated debates within the Roman Catholic Church, but perhaps no issue proves to be as vigorously opposed as abortion. Yet, despite the church’s hard-line position on this topic, an underlying irony remains that abusive have been known to advocate or even arrange abortions for the women they have impregnated following sexual violations. In certain cases, this is even facilitated or sanctioned by their supervising bishops.

Ironically, in cases where the victims have decided to keep the child, these same clerics often offer insignificant or non-existent support to both mother and child, once again, sometimes with the help or approval of their supervising bishops.


Cases of such appalling actions on behalf of priests have been witnessed time and again.

  1. Father Louis Rios, who is facing a lawsuit for sexually abusing a 16-year-old in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York, urged the pregnant victim to terminate her pregnancy, offering her money from his parish collection for the process. Fr. Rios worked at three locations in New York City (St. Theresa’s, Our Lady of Esperanza, and the Assumptionist Provincial House), two Massachusetts towns (Worcester and Milton), and in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  2. Bishop Austin Bernard Vaughan, a known anti-choice activist, has been named in a similar lawsuit concerning sexual abuse. He was the first American bishop to be arrested for blocking abortion clinic entrances. In 2019, he was named in a lawsuit filed alleging that he, along with Fr. Donald Whelan, sexually abused a boy from 1974 at St. Patrick’s parish in Newburgh, New York.
  3. Fr. John Murphy, an anti-abortion activist who worked in the Rockville Centre Diocese, is currently under fire for allegations of sexually abusing a 10-year-old child for two years in Hicksville, NY. He has also been arrested multiple times on protesting and trespassing charges.
  4. Fr. Vincent Mooney, a Jesuit from the Buffalo Diocese, reportedly sexually abused a teenager at Mt. St. Joseph’s Academy. The girl was grieving her father’s death at the time, and a nun sent her to Fr. Mooney for counseling, and he attacked her after hearing her confession. She ended up pregnant, and her mother sent her for an illegal abortion that almost killed her. A Jesuit spokesman confirmed the woman’s story, calling the situation “horrific.”


  1. Fr. John Peter Lenihan of the Orange County, CA Diocese was named in a civil abuse lawsuit and admitted to having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl on multiple occasions. Lenihan was accused of impregnating another teenage girl and paying for an abortion. One of his victims said, “I have never been able to reconcile the fact that the priest who preached on subjects like `abortion is a mortal sin’ was the one who told me to have an abortion.” Two California dioceses settled another case involving him for $1.2 million. 
  2. Fr. Don Kimball of the Santa Rosa Diocese in California has been accused by at least 11 men and women of childhood sexual abuse. One of Fr. Kimball’s victims allegedly became pregnant, and he drove her to get an abortion. 
  3. Fr. Jesus Atilios Garay, from Argentina, worked in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. According to media reports, in 2004, he was accused in a lawsuit of raping a 17-year-old girl (along with other priests, including Fr. Valentine Tugade and Fr. Santiago Tamayo). She said she got pregnant, the abuse continued, and Fr. Garay pressured her to have an abortion. She gave birth to the child, and, per the lawsuit, the archdiocese did not inform authorities of the abuse, nor did they provide medical coverage during the pregnancy or support after the baby was born.


  1. Fr. Henry Willenborg exploited a vulnerable woman, and when she became pregnant, he encouraged her to have an abortion, which she refused. That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Later, a child was born to the woman and Fr. Willenborg. The priest was involved with the baby for eight months. The Franciscans provided some financial support to the mother of his child until he turned 21. In exchange, the woman signed a confidentiality agreement.
  2. Fr. Raymond Kownacki was accused in a lawsuit of abusing and raping a teenage girl over several years. At one point, he reportedly held a knife to her throat, brandished a gun, and then raped her. She later found she was pregnant, and Fr. Kownacki made her drink something to induce abortion, then squeezed her uterus with his hand. She passed out, woke up in a pool of blood, and lost the fetus.
  3. Fr. Blair Raum worked at the national headquarters of an anti-abortion group called Project Rachel, traveling across the US with that organization, raising funds, organizing events, and speaking publicly. He faces at least three accusers in Maryland. 


Despite the disturbing nature of these crimes, the most shocking factor is perhaps the underlying hypocrisy. Many a parent has jested with their child to “do as I say, not as I do.” Yet this principle is far from humor when it represents the glaring double standards within the Catholic Church’s hierarchy.

Such unnerving instances of abuse and betrayal by those trusted with spiritual guidance and moral education beg the question, how many more silenced victims are we yet to hear from? This glaring hypocrisy haunting the Catholic Church corridors must be confronted and such perpetrators brought to justice. Ignoring this recourse not only undermines the sanctity of the institution but also jeopardizes the future safety of countless innocent lives. While justice is still being sought for countless victims, their voice echoes a call to action to the Church and society at large. This is not merely a demand for justice but a plea for the safeguarding of the innocence of future generations.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.