Rev. John "Jack" Kennington, C.Ss.R. – Assignment History

Summary of Case: Jack Kennington was ordained for the Baltimore Province of the Redemptorist Order in 1959. He spent his first nearly two decades of priesthood in Brazil, in the states of Mato Grosso and Paraná. In 1979 he returned to Baltimore, residing at Sacred Heart parish until 1981, when he moved to the Catholic Information Center at Woodstock Theological Center - Georgetown University in Washington DC. In 1983 Kennington was assigned to Most Holy Redeemer parish in New York City, where he assisted until 1990. During that time he was the archdiocesan DARE program director for the Lower East Side. The Directories show a gap in his assignments 1990-1993. He appears to have been assigned during 1993-1994 to a parish in Opa Locka, Florida, under the name "John Kenning, C.S.s.R." He reappears as Kennington in 1995 at the Redemptorists' Mount Alphonsus Monastery and retreat center in Esopus, New York. There he was assigned the task of archiving a research collection regarding the Shroud of Turin.

In 1989 a woman was told by her teenage daughter that Kennington had sexually abused her and her younger brother from 1984 to 1987, beginning when the two were ages 8 and 11. Kennington, who was a close family friend, had stepped in to help the newly divorced mother, including with childcare. The family were Most Holy Redeemer parishioners. The abuse was said to have occurred in the family's apartment, on vacations in the Hamptons and during visits to the mother's parents home in Florida. Kennington allegedly would play strip poker to the point of nakedness with the children, would molest one child while having the other watch, and would masturbate in the children's presence while viewing pornography. Kennington admitted to playing strip poker with the children, but denied abusing them.

The brother filed suit in 1993 against the Redemptorists and the Archdiocese of New York. The suit was settled in 2001, after eight years, and included a confidentiality agreement. The sister was unable to sue due to New York's statute of limitations.

Kennington was honored in 2009 on the 50th anniversary of his ordination. By 2010 he was living in Brooklyn, near the Order's Basilica. In 2016 he remained an active Redemptorist.

: 1959


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State/
Position Notes


Archdiocese of New York

Archbishop was Francis Joseph Spellman (1939-1967).

1961 Mount St. Alphonsus Esopus NY student priest

This was a Redemptorist House of Studies. In the 1961 Directory Kennington is indexed as at Mount St. Alphonsus, but he is not listed as there in the New York pages.


Diocese of Corumbá

Bishop was Ladislau Paz, S.D.B. (1957-1978).

1970   Aquidauana Mato Grosso/ Brazil    


Diocese of Paranaguá

Bishop wa Bernardo José Nolker, C.Ss.R. (1963-1989).

1973   Antonina Paraná/Brazill    


Archdiocese of Curitiba

Archbishop was Pedro Antônio Marchetti Fedalto (1970-2004).

1974     Paraná/Brazil   Kennington is noted to be part of 'Curitiba III.'


Diocese of Ponta Grossa

Bishop was Geraldo Claudio Luiz Micheletto Pellanda, C.P. (1965-1991).

1979     Paraná/Brazil   Kennington is noted to be part of 'Ponta Grossa I.'


Archdiocese of Baltimore

Archbishop was William Donald Borders (1974-1989).

1981 Sacred Heart of Jesus Baltimore MD 10/10 Sacred Heart had a school with 275-387 students.
1979 1981 Holy Redeemer Chapel; St. Gerard's Chapel Baltimore MD   These were missions of Sacred Heart of Jesus.


Washington DC

Archbishop was James Aloysius Hickey (1980-2000).

1983 Catholic Information Center at Woodstock Theological Center - Georgetown University Washington DC in residence at Holy Redeemer College  


Archdiocese of New York

Archbishop was Terence James Cooke (1968-1983), followed by John Joseph O'Connor (1984-2000).

1990 Most Holy Redeemer

New York

Kennington was accused of sexually abusing a brother and sister 1984-1987 beginning when the girl was age 13 and the boy was 8. "Fr. Jack" was a close family friend, who offered support to the children's divorced mother, including with childcare. The abuse allegedly included having one sibling watch while he abused the other, playing strip poker with them to the point of nakedness and masturbating in their presence while looking at porn. The incidents were said to have occurred in the family's Manhattan apartment, at summer rental homes in the Hamptons, and during visits to the mother's parents' home in Florida. He reportedly told the siblings that the behavior was "our secret." The boy later said that Kennington would hear his confession, and absolve him of the sin of their sexual contact.

NY 4/5, 3/4, 2/3



Kennington denied the abuse, but admitted to playing strip poker with the children.

The mother said she didn't learn of the abuse until 1989, when her daughter refused to allow "Uncle Jack" to attend her high school graduation party. The girl had been experiencing serious psychiatric difficulties, including a suicide attempt. Her brother struggled with migraines and depression.

    Archdiocesan Drug and Alcohol, Rehabilitate and Educate (DARE) Program New York (Manhattan) NY Director, Lower East Side This is per a new source in 1990.
1990 1993        

Kennington is not indexed in the 1991-1993 Directories, nor is he listed in the diocesan pages as at his previous or next assignments.

The brother and sister alleging abuse by Kennington contacted a lawyer in 1993. The statute of limitations had run out for the girl, but not for the boy.


Archdiocese of Miami

Archbishop was Edward Anthony McCarthy (1977-1994).

1994 Our Lady of Perpetual Help Opa Locka FL 1/4

Our Lady of Perpetual Help had a school with 168 students.

Kennington is indexed and listed in the Miami pages in the 1994 Directory as "John Kenning," "Kenning" is indexed with a 1959 ordination year.

1994 1995         The 1994 Directory does not index either "Kenning" or Kennington, and it does not list either name at Kennington's previous or next assignments.


Archdiocese of New York

Archbishop John Joseph O'Connor (1984-2000), was succeeded by Edward Michael Egan (2000-2009).

2003 Mount St. Alphonsus Esopus NY

in residence

The 1997-2004 Directories show Kennington to have been part of the Holy Shroud Guild. A 1998 Shroud conference program bio states that he was new to Shroud research and was archiving a massive collection at Esopus.

Mount St. Alphonsus was a Redemptorist residence and center for retreats. Per the Directories, youth retreats were included.


The lawsuit filed by the male alleged victim of Kennington's against the archdiocese and the Redemptorists was settled after eight years, in 2001. It included a gag order.

2003 2004        

The 2004 Directory indexes Kennington's name and as located within archdiocese of New York, but it does show his specific whereabouts or name an assignment. He is not listed as at his previous assignment.

Kennington is not indexed beyond the 2004 Directory.

2004 2016         Kennington celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination in 2009. By 2010 he was living in Brooklyn, near the Order's Basilica, and in 2016 he remained an active Redemptorist.

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1960-2004).

Manhattan Profile, Father Jack Kennington, Compiled by David Kansas, Newsday, May 9, 1990
Rev. Jack Kennington, C.Ss.R. - Physical Archiving of the Otterbein Collection at Esopus,, November 7, 1998
Mother Demands Church Boot 'Strip Poker' Pastor, By Denise Buffa, New York Post, March 22, 2002
Court Orders Keep Charge Quiet,, reposted on google group site, March 23, 2002
Ex-Local Priest on Abuse List, By Timothy O'Connor, Times Herald-Record, April 10, 2002
The Accused, USA Today, November 11, 2002
Kindly family priest who fooled a mother and then cunningly abused her kids; Shocking Story of Betrayal by a Trusted Churchman, New York Post, via, 2002
Celebrating the Anniversary of their ordination, Plentiful Redemption, Volume I, Number 2, Redemptorist Office for Mission Advancement,, Summer 2009
Now-closed Mount St. Alphonsus has a storied history, By Mary Ann Garber, The Criterion Online Edition, November 30, 2012
The Civil War journal of Father James Sheeran: Confederate chaplain and Redemptorist, Patrick J. Hayes, editor, The Catholic University of America Press, 2017, p. 7

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Kennington's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on April 6, 2017.


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