Diocese of Brooklyn Zero Tolerance Policy Leads to Removal of Priest from Ministry Following Investigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2021


Adriana Rodriguez

John Quaglione 


A claim of alleged sexual abuse of a minor, dating back to the 1970s, against 86-year-old Peter Mahoney has been investigated by the independent Diocesan Review Board (DRB) and found to be credible. Credible means the DRB believes the allegations may be true.

As a result of the DRB’s determination that the allegation is credible, Rev. Peter Mahoney, who had been ministering part-time to the Hispanic community at Saint Anne Catholic Church in Flushing, Queens, and St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, Queens, has been removed from all public ministry. That means he is not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly, cannot exercise any public ministry, and cannot live in an ecclesiastical residence. His name will also be added to the List of Credibly Accused Priests on the Diocese of Brooklyn website.

The allegation came into the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Reporting Line on October 2, 2020, and was referred for investigation and forwarded to law enforcement on that date.

The alleged abuse took place between 1975 and 1978 while Rev. Mahoney was serving at St. Martin of Tours in Brooklyn.

It should be understood that such action by the Diocese is not to be interpreted as a judgment of the guilt of the priest. However, it is recognition of the possibility that wrongdoing may have taken place, and therefore, out of concern for the safety of the faithful, it was determined necessary to remove the priest from ministry.

On April 8, 2021, a lawsuit was filed against Rev. Mahoney under the Child Victims Act with an allegation from another claimant.

The Diocese of Brooklyn is committed to providing pastoral care to victims. The Office of Victim Assistance Ministry provides supportive initial counseling, referrals for therapy, and pastoral resources for the victims of sexual abuse.  The Diocese hosts a yearly Mass of Hope and Healing where the faithful come together and pray for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Brooklyn has instituted significant programs to prevent sexual abuse and protect children. They include a Zero Tolerance policy which states that any clergy member credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is permanently removed from ministry. The Diocese also conducts initial and ongoing background checks of all employees and volunteers and provides age-appropriate sexual abuse awareness training for children and adults.

Anyone who has been the victim of clergy sexual abuse is encouraged to report it to law enforcement or to the Toll-Free Reporting Line established by the Diocese at 1-888-634-4499. All calls are forwarded to law enforcement officials.