Why Did Cardinal O’Malley Cover-Up Gay Abuse Scandal?

In view of Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s public denials about cardinal sean o malleyhaving had knowledge of  Cardinal McCarrick’s sexually immoral behavior, Catholics and non-Catholics ought to be aware of how Cardinal O’Malley handled a situation where he did know of a Boston priest’s homosexual abuse of a young man, and where he knew about the priest’s advocacy of the gay agenda for many years before this abuse occurred.

The priest is Fr. Walter Cuenin, and his public advocacy for the gay agenda was well known for 15+ years under both Cardinal Law and Cardinal O’Malley.  In his final role in active ministry, he was chaplain at Brandeis Univ. in Waltham, MA. Cuenin departed that position abruptly in January of 2015 without prior notice for what was described at the time as “health reasons.”  A tipster at BCI reported on September 8 that the reason for the departure was actually that Cuenin has plied a student with alcohol and made undesired sexual advances on him.  Cuenin was removed from ministry and sent for treatment at a clinic in Michigan and has not been heard from since. This scandalous incident was covered-up by both Brandeis and the Archdiocese of Boston. On September 11, an official from the Archdiocese of Boston confirmed that is what actually happened. Here are more details and the full history.

  •  1993: Fr. Walter Cuenin was appointed pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton, MA by Cardinal Bernard Law
  • From 1999 to 2000,  Fr. Cuenin was actively involved in an effort sponsored by Catholic Charities of Boston to create a program called, “Companions” for parents and family of homosexual children that was focused on affirming and supporting the homosexual lifestyle. The opening Mass was held at Our Lady’s in October 1999. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Cuenin and was assisted Fr. John J. White (companion of child-molester Fr. Paul Shanley and co-owner with Fr. Shanley of a gay bed-and-breakfast motel in Palm Springs California) and Fr. Richard Lewandowski (then-pastor of St. Camillas Church in Fitchburg who ran a PFLAG organization at Fitchburg State College and later testified against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage). Other participants in the event included Charles Connors, president of Boston PFLAG, and Paul Merullo who had to serve 2 years in jail for molesting a youth.  Numerous complaints were made to regional bishops, then-Vicar General Bishop Murphy, Cardinal Law and others to try and get the program halted, and it was eventually stopped in late 2000.
  • April 2002: Cuenin testified to a MA legislative committee in opposition to a proposed amendment that would have banned gay marriage.  He argued that Defense of Marriage Amendment amendment seemed to violate the Catechism of the Catholic Church because homosexual marriage was a human rights issue.
  • September 2002: In a New Yorker article entitled, “The Reformer“, Cuenin said gays and lesbians should be allowed a front-row seat at church and not be told that their lives are “basically disordered.”
  • June 2004: Cuenin invites parishioners to attend the Gay Pride parade. Complaints to the archdiocese are ignored.
  • May 2005: Our Lady’s bulletin runs a notice from their Gay and Lesbian Faith Sharing group invites all parishioners again to Boston’s Gay Pride Parade.  Faithful Catholic, Alice Slattery sends  letter to Cardinal OMalley and Bishop Lennon to  sharing details of Cuenin’s history and begging the Cardinal to intervene. She gets no response.
  • September 2005: After years of complaints to both Cardinals Law and O’Malley about Fr. Cuenin’s promotion of homosexuality, he was finally removed as pastor by O’Malley not for his public dissent from Catholic teachings, but rather based on the results of a financial audit that showed improper use of church funds for a leased car and excessive payment of Mass stipends. 
  •  January 2006.  Cardinal O’Malley reassigned Cuenin as campus chaplain, at Brandeis University, where he would be allowed to freely counsel students confused about their sexuality.  It was widely assumed at the time this move was done to find a permanent role for Cuenin and to quell the furor at Our Lady’s over his departure and anger at his replacement, Fr. Chris Coyne (former spokesman for Cardinal’s Law and O’Malley)
  • June 2006:  Cuenin was the featured speaker at the Gay Pride interfaith prayer service.
  • April 2007: Cuenin speaks in Lexington at Interfaith Forum on topic of “God, Gays, and Faith.”  Alice Slattery send another urgent request to Cardinal O’Malley prior to the talk asking him to intervene and stop the talk, but she got no response.  She then sent a follow-up letter to Cardinal O’Malley_on April 12 2007 giving more background on Cuenin and also naming other officials and priests from the Archdiocese with past involvement in pushing the gay agenda. She also got not response.  (Perhaps the letter was received by Fr. Robert Kickham?!)  Alice included a letter published in the local Lexington newspaper saying that “Cuenin doesn’t represent all Catholics.
  • February 2012: Cuenin, in an interview with the New Ways Ministry, said:

“The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage, so I cannot directly say I support it, but I have seen from my experience that for many people it creates a much healthier environment..For example, if you were to go to Provincetown in the summer time, where a lot of gay people go, it’s a radically different place today than it was 20 years ago,’ Cuenin said. ‘They are there with children and married, raising kids, so they go home at night. In other words, it has transformed the whole gay scene.”

What actually happened around his departure is for more grave than “health reasons.”  BCI is told that Cuenin had taken a Brandeis student on a trip to NY City around Christmas-time, staying in a one-bedroom hotel room with one bed.  He plied him with alcohol, and then engaged in non-consensual sexual activity with him. The victim, who prefers to be unidentified, wanted Fr. Cuenin to leave campus so that other students were no longer vulnerable to similar happenings.  Brandeis administration loved Fr. Cuenin for his liberal ideology that fit well on campus and because he was a popular figure on campus, and they wanted to keep the matter quiet. So did the Archdiocese of Boston..  Key people from Brandeis involved in the handling of this situation included Andrew Flagel, then senior vice president for students and enrollment, and Jamele Adams, dean of student life.  Then-president, Frederick Lawrence was also aware and involved. Cardinal O’Malley knew about this as did Bishop Peter Uglietto, Vicar General, and Fr. Bryan Parrish, episcopal vicar and secretary for parish life and leadership.

Fr. Parrish was asked about this on September 11.  Even though the diocesan website shows Cuenin’s status is “Senior Priest” (which means a retired priest in good standing, many of whom offer assistance in parishes), Parrish said Cuenin’s official status with the archdiocese is a “restricted Senior Priest”, which means no ministry is allowed and no church housing is provided. Cuenin has a very public problem with alcohol and Fr. Parrish confirmed he was involved in the incident of molestation at Brandies as reported on BCI and at Conquered by Love.  Cuenin is at an alcohol treatment facility similar to a halfway house in very poor health with some level of supervision, and his condition is such that he is not considered a threat to others.

Many questions merit answers from Cardinal O’Malley.  Why did he allow a man known as an advocate for homosexual activity to a college campus where he could corrupt young minds and souls?  Did he read all of the many letters sent to him, or were they screened by Fr. Kickham?  Did he discuss the idea of reassigning Fr. Cuenin to a college campus with his staff and/or head of campus ministry, and if so, what was the recommendation?   Why were the circumstances of Cuenin’s actions that led to his departure from Brandeis — namely, sexual molestation of a student – kept quiet?  Was this incident reported to the police?  How do we know there have not been other victims of Cuenin’s? What keeps Cuenin from going to a park or other place where young people are present and repeating this behavior again?

Cardinal O’Malley is in Rome today meeting with Pope Francis to discuss sexual abuse by clergy.  Hopefully following that meeting, he can provide some answers to these questions.

17 Responses to Why Did Cardinal O’Malley Cover-Up Gay Abuse Scandal?

  1. Marie Adamo says:

    He must RESIGN !!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Dan says:

    Please send this article to as many other Catholic news outlets you can. Right now it is very, very important that this information not be disregarded, especially with Cardinal O’Malley’s involvement in meetings at the Vatican on sexual abuse.

  3. Kd says:

    A sin is a SIN call it what it is fellas!

  4. jbq2 says:

    Problems in the priesthood are known in psychiatric circles to be caused by “incomplete sexual development”. That is why homosexuality was in the DSM Manual in the first place. By now, the Church should have a response and agenda to reform the training of priests. But no, the same mistakes continue to grow and the known answer is the acceptance of the defect as an alternative lifestyle.

  5. Tom Syseskey says:

    Today’s Boston Globe reports that the Boston archdiocese pulled an accused extern priest from Nigeria from ministry, because he
    allegedly assaulted young girl. – https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/09/11/boston-archdiocese-removes-hospital-chaplain-from-ministry-after-sex-abuse-allegation/F42aBBRIQK07XRQFzhJLqL/story.html

  6. Concerned Parishioner says:

    After reading this article, one has to wonder: perhaps the characters mentioned here (Bishop Uglietto, Fr. Bryan Parrish, and the infamous Fr. Robert Kickham) are all very good friends with Fr. Walter Cuenin? Just imagine that….

  7. Earnie Bay says:

    How can we blame Cardinal Klink when he’s surrounded by Sgts. Schultzkickham, Schultzparrish, Schultzblaney, Schultzflavin, and Schultzsoper? Oops, almost forgot Uber-sgt. “Honest Marcus” Schultzoconnell!

    Quick, get the Sominex, it’s time for the Cardinal’s siesta! When in Rome…

  8. Marie says:

    On top of everything else, Church Militant is reporting Italian media has published leaks from the 300-page dossier presented to Pope Benedict before his retirement. Cardinal Kevin Farrell is reported to be deeply involved in the gay mafia…

  9. johnkg73 says:

    Because he has a dirty dipstick, too.

  10. […] Cdl. Sean O’Malley Questioned Over Assignment of Pro-Gay Priest Fr. Walter Cuenin appointed to Brandeis University despite being an LGBT advocate. FULL STORY  […]

  11. Angela says:


  12. Magdalene says:

    These bishops are not only complicit with the crimes committed but also the mortal sins. They do not care for the souls under their watch and have allowed others to be gravely harmed. Wordsmithing and legalese like “did not personally receive” is garbage. They knew. We knew. Perhaps all the US Cardinals with one or two exceptions should lead the way in resigning. But would that mean giving up their high lifestyle? Any bishop living in a mansion and taking big vacations should be restricted.

  13. “Truth Teller”
    Terry Donilon has pushed back on every reporter who has inquired about this in a statement saying there was no charge of molestation, and no allegation. He refuses to respond to further questions.

    How would you suggest we handle this, given the victim does not wish to step forward?

  14. […] our last post, Why Did Cardinal O’Malley Cover-Up Gay Abuse Scandal?, we shared insider news about Fr. Walter Cuenin’s scandalous actions that got him removed […]

  15. Former Employee says:

    I am not really surprised, when I worked there over a decade ago pretty much everyone in the Chancery knew how bad this guy was. At least everyone knew he had been a Gay travel agent (rumor was he ran it with his “partner”) and it was also rumored that the chancery would use his travel agency to arrange trips. The few orthodox Catholics used refer to his cadre as “The Cueninite Heresy”

    And when he got sent to Brandeis after misusing funds there were rumors that the Chaplaincy job came with a very nice salary, so it was kind of like a promotion.

    This is the third scandal in quick succession (the letter, the seminary and now the sexual assault), and those are only what we know about.

  16. […] anyone else think the Fr. VerEecke story sounds just a little bit similar to what we reported about Fr. Walter Cuenin’s unwelcome advances on a male Brandeis student and Terry Donilon’s “non-denial denial“?  He said there was no charge of […]

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