Case dismissed against New York priest accused of abuse

A priest of the Archdiocese of New York has been cleared of accusations of sexual abuse after the judge dismissed the case at the request of District Attorney’s office. 

“We were pleased today to learn that the charges against Father Thomas Kreiser have been dismissed,” said a statement from the Archdiocese of New York on Sept. 24. “Father Kreiser has steadfastly maintained his innocence, and it is good to see justice has been done.”

Fr. Kreiser had served as a priest in Bronxville, a village near Manhattan, until he was accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl in October, 2018. Kreiser was indicted in March, 2019. He was facing three felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse as well as three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The archdiocese suspended him from public ministry while the case was being considered. 

Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling said that Fr. Thomas Kreiser will meet soon with the archdiocese to determine his return to ministry and future assignment.

The case was dismissed after the Westchester District Attorney’s office received the results of an investigation into the claims made by the supposed victim and found it would not support further prosecution. 

“We did not feel we could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said to the Rockland-Westchester Journal News in an email. 

In April 2019, the Archdiocese of New York released a list of clergy in the archdiocese who had been “credibly” accused of sexual abuse or misconduct with a minor. Kreiser’s name was not on that list.

The priest was accused of touching a girl “on an intimate part of her body” three times in September 2018. The girl said the abuse occurred on the grounds of St. Joseph’s parish school in Bronxville. Kreiser immediately asserted his innocence and pled not guilty to all accusations at his arraignment. 

Kreiser has repeatedly denied ever touching the girl, or any child, in an inappropriate manner. 

Kreiser previously underwent treatment for gambling addiction. In 2011, he was sentenced to five years’ probation after pleading guilty to felony charges related to stealing more than $25,000 from his previous parish. 

Following the passage of the Child Victims Act by the New York State government in January, a window was created in the statute of limitations to allow child sexual abuse survivors to file suit against individuals and institutions in the state.

Previously, a survivor had until they reached the age of 23 to file a claim. This has now been extended to the age 28 for criminal charges, and 55 for civil cases.

On the first day of the window, in August, more than 400 lawsuits were filed. 

The lawsuits include an allegation of abuse against a sitting bishop, and a RICO suit against the Diocese of Buffalo and the Northeast Province of the Jesuits. Other suits were filed against laicized former archbishop Theodore McCarrick, and against retired Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany. Hubbard has denied the allegations.

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