Msgr. John J. O'Keefe – Assignment History
Summary of Case: John "Jack" J. O'Keefe was ordained for the Archdiocese of New York in 1972. He went on to assist in three Bronx parishes and, in 1977, he joined the faculty of Cardinal Hayes High School. In the early 1990s, after over 25 years years as a teacher and guidance counselor, O'Keefe left Hayes to assume the role of president of Archbishop Stepinac High in White Plains. In 1995 he was elevated to Monsignor status. O'Keefe moved on from Stepinac High in 2004 to pastor St. Margaret's parish in Pearl River.
In December 2015 O'Keefe was removed from St. Margaret's and suspended from active ministry after he was accused in a lawsuit of having sexually abused a Hayes High School student in the early 1980s. The abuse was said to have occurred on two occasions - in a Virginia hotel during a school trip to Washington D.C., and during a weekend leadership training program at the Irish Christian Brothers' retreat house in Esopus, New York. District Attorneys in Virginia and New York deemed the allegations 'credible.' O'Keefe denied them. He was reportedly living in a supervised setting for evaluation and risk assessment after his suspension. In September 2016 O'Keefe was permanently removed from ministry; two other male accusers had come forward by then with credible allegations.
Archdiocese of New York
Archbishop was Terence James Cooke (1968-1983).
||St. Thomas Aquinas
||New York (Bronx)
St. Thomas Aquinas' had a school with 567-527 students.
||Christ the King
||New York (Bronx)
||Christ the King had a school with 616-562 students.
||St. Thomas Aquinas
||New York (Bronx)
||St. Thomas Aquinas' had a school with 527 students.
Cooke was succeeded by John Joseph O'Connor (1984-2000).
||Cardinal Hayes High School
New York (Bronx)
• O'Keefe was suspended in December 2015 after he was accused in a lawsuit of having sexually abused a Hayes student in the early 1980s. The abuse was said to have taken place in a Virginia hotel room during a school trip to Washington D.C., and during a weekend leadership training program at the Irish Christian Brothers' retreat house in Esopus, New York. The allegations were deemed 'credible' by Rockland and Bronx county district attorneys and the district attorney in Virginia. O'Keefe denied them.
• By September 2017 two other male accusers had come forward with credible allegations, per news reports.
||teacher, guidance counselor
Cardinal Hayes High had 1,408-1,075 students, all boys.
In May 2016 a former Hayes student who had alleged abuse by Hayes dean of discipline, Bro. John Justice O'Connor, said O'Keefe protected O'Connor. The man, who attended Hayes in the early 1980s, said his mother went to O'Keefe with her concerns about the abuse her son said he was suffering, and that O'Keefe told her those accusing O'Connor were "liars and con artists."
Edward Michael Egan replaced O'Connor as New York archbishop (2000-2009).
||Archbishop Stepinac High School
Stepinac High had 533-707 students, all boys.
O'Keefe was elevated to Monsignor status in 1995.
Egan was succeeded by Timothy Michael Dolan (2009-).
||1/4, 1/3, 1/5
||St. Margaret's had a school with 350-245, and a CCD program with 700-875 students.
O'Keefe is not indexed in the 2016 Directory, nor is he listed as at his previous assignment in the New York pages.
O'Keefe was in a "supervised setting" for evaluation and risk assessment in December 2015. He had been on leave since September 2015 for unrelated health issues.
O'Keefe was permanently removed from ministry in September 2016.
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.
Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1973-2015).
• Rockland Priest Suspended after Sex Abuse Allegations: NY Archdiocese, By Michael D'Onofrio, Journal News, December 18, 2015
• Former Head of Stepinac High School Faces Sex Abuse Charge: Cardinal Dolan, By Alfred Branch, The Patch [White Plains], December 18, 2015
• Allegations of Rockland County Priest Abuse 30 Years Ago Deemed "Credible," Archdiocese Says, WABC, December 18, 2015
• Sex Abuse Probe Targets Former Westchester Monsignor, Daily Voice, December 19, 2015
• Rockland ready to investigate priest complaints, By Jane Lerner and Michael D'onofrio, Journal News, December 19, 2015
• Parishioners defend priest accused of abuse, 12 News, December 20, 2015
• Pearl River Pastor Abuse Allegation Credible, Not Yet Substantiated, Catholic New York, December 23, 2015
• Former student claims ‘monster’ abused him in Bronx high school, supports Child Victims Act ,By Michael O'Keeffe, New York Daily News 05.30.16
• Former Pearl River Priest Removed from Ministry, By Colleen Wilson, Journal News, September 26, 2016
• Cardinal Dolan Ousted Priest for Sex Abuse Claim, but Accuser's Lawyer Says Children Still at Risk, By Michael O'Keeffe, New York Daily News, September 26, 2016
• Priest Permanently Removed from Duties after Sex Abuse Allegations, CBS New York, September 27, 2016
• Local Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse Permanently Removed from Ministry, Fios 1 News, September 27, 2016
• Former Pearl River Priest Removed from Ministry over Sex Abuse Allegations, By Lanning Taliaferr, The Patch, September 27, 2016
• Irish Priest in New York to Be Defrocked over 30-year-old Sex Abuse Allegations, By Kate Hickey, Irish Central, September 28, 2016
• Ousted Priest O'Keefe Should Get No Benefits: #lohudreacts, By Swapna Venugopal Ramaswarmy, Journal News, September 29, 2016
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This assignment record collates O'Keefe'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
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This assignment record was last updated on May 1, 2017.