O’Flaherty: Father Thomas O’Flaherty

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Thomas OFlaherty picture croppedThomas C. O’Flaherty

Priest with the Diocese of London, Ontario.  Ordained 1948 as a priest for the American Province of the Society of African Missions.  At some point and for reasons at this time unknown moved to London Ontario and became incardinated in the Diocese of London, Ontario. “Retired” in London, but within a few years was assisting at St. Anne Roman Catholic Church in Belleview, Pensacola, Florida.  He died in Pensacola in 2005.

According his obituary, was a member of Mensa.

Lawsuit field alleging long-term sexual abuse of a young male in the London Diocese.  The abuse started around 1976

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28 August 2012:  Statement of Claim re sex abuse allegations against Father Thomas C. O’Flaherty 

2005:  Obituary in London Free Press

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Bishops of the Diocese of London, Ontario from time Father O’Flaherty arrived in the DioceseJohn Thomas Kidd  (03 July 1931 – 02 June 1950) ; John Christopher Cody (02 Jun 1950  – 05 Dec 1963); Gerald Emmett Carter  (17 February 1964 – 29 April 1978 -Appointed, Archbishop of Toronto, Ontario)   John Michael Sherlock (7 July 1978 – 27 April 2002 ); Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B. (27 Apr 2002 – – )

Auxiliary Bishop of London Diocese from time Father O’Flaherty arrived in the dioceseJohn Michael Sherlock (25 June 1974 — Bishop: 7 Jul 1978); Marcel André J. Gervais (19 Apr 1980 – 3 May 1985); Frederick Bernard Henry (18 April 1986 — 24 Mar 1995);  Richard John Grecco (5 December 1997 – 27 April 2002); Robert Anthony Daniels ( 21 September 2004 to 1 March 2011)

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The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) which I have on hand, his obituary in the London Free Press (Obit), and the Statement of Claim/lawsuit (L)

16 May 2005:  Memorial service held at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in London, Ontario with Bishop Ronald P. Fabbro officiating (Obit)

19 March 2005:  Died in Pensacola, Florida (Obit)

I believe the following text is from the prayer cards handed out at his funeral?

Rev. Thomas C. O’Flaherty, Ph.D.

Assoc. Pastor St. Anne – Bellview 

January 21. 1923

CORK, IRELAND

To

March 19. 2005

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA

Eternal rest grant unto him, 0 Lord

And let perpetual light shine upon him.

May he rest in peace Amen.

May his soul and the souls of all

the faithful deported, through

the mercy of God, rest in peace

Amen.

approximately 2004 or early 2004:  Doctorate in Medieval Latin (Obit)

2002:  not listed in CCCD index

2001:  officiated at graveside service and interment in Pensacola, Florida (Father Thomas OFlaherty officiating 2001)

2000:  Officiated at a funeral Mass (Father Thomas OFlaherty funeral Mass 2000)

2000, 1999, 1998:  5200 Saufley Field Rd., Pensacola, Florida 32526-1626 (CCCD)  Address for St. Ann Parish, Belleview

1997, 1996:  389 Dundas St., Apt. 1405, London, Ontario (CCCD)

1994: 389 Dundas St., Apt. 14-5, London, Ontario (CCCD)

1993, 1992, 1991:  800 Commissioner’s  Rd. East ( CCCD) (This is the address for The London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario – from 1978 until his  “retirement” he was apparently Chaplain to the Dep’t of Veteran’s Affairs, therefore chaplain for the veterans in the hospital?))

1985-86:  address 777 Base Line Road East, London (shown as incardinated in Diocese of London, Ontario) CCCD (This is an address for the Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario – from 1978 until his  “retirement” he was apparently Chaplain to the Dep’t of Veteran’s Affairs, therefore chaplain for the veterans in the hospital?)

1980:  Box 5701, London, Ontario (OCD80) Shown in index  as “O’Flaherty, T.C., SMA. ”  The initials SMA indicate that he is a member of  Society of African Missions, however, according to his obituary he was incardinated in the Diocese of London in 1978 and therefore was no longer a member of the order at that time.  (From 1978 until his  “retirement” he was apparently Chaplain to the Dep’t of Veteran’s Affairs, therefore serving as chaplain for the veterans in the hospital?)

19 January 1978:  INCARDINATED into the Diocese of London, Ontario (Obit).  Appointed Chaplain to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, a position he held until his retirement. (Obit) (When did he retire? it looks as though it may have been around late 1993 or 1994 – the ’94 CCCD shows him living in an apartment on Dundas St.  He would have been about 71-years-of-age at the time.  )

?-1978:  assisting at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, London, Ontario from the time of his arrival in the diocese until 1978 (Obit)

 according to Statement of Claim, sex abuse of boy started in approximately 1976 and continued for approximately five years (L)

Date ?: after serving on the Society of African Missions council served in the Bahamas (Obit)

Date ?:  Tenafly, New Jersey (after elected to serve on council for the order (Obit)

Dates ?: served in Augusta, Georgia and Los Angeles, California until elected to the council for the Society of African Missions (Obit)

Early 50s:  From judith:  “O’Flaherty was an assistant pastor at the Immaculate Conception Church in Augusta, GA  in the early fifties. He was also with the school and was believed to have impregnated a high school girl there. He was sent away mid-year, and it was never explained why. (Transfers, prior to his, were always made during the summer break.)”

1946:  first assignment to Society Queen of Apostles Seminary, Dedham, Massachusetts (Obit)

08 June 1946:  ORDAINED as a priest with the Society of African Missions (“Society of Missionaries to Africa”) at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

Post graduate studies at Boston College (Obit)

Masters degree from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC (Obit)

1944: Degree in Philosophy, University College Cork, Ireland (Obit)

21 January 1923:  Born in Cork, Ireland (Obit)

 

8 Responses to O’Flaherty: Father Thomas O’Flaherty

  1. tanya says:

    O’ Flaherty’s clerical career rasied that ever interesting issue that seems to be found so often with regard to clerical pardophiles. The issue is that of excardination and incardination.

    The circumstances surrounding O’Flahertys departure from the Society of African Missions to the Diocese of London would be an interesting narrative to follow. I assume the Diocese of London will have no intention of surrendering such files covering this issue at any time in the near future. However I believe that the issue of clerics leaving the regular clergy for the secular clergy is significant and is a all too familar contour in the clerical careers of paedophile clergy. What “break” occurred to precipitate O Flaherty’s request and did the SMA religious order reveal the total truth regarding O’Flaherty in communications with the London diocese? As an addendum, in the Dublin archdiocese there was the bizzarre situation where that diocese attempted to excardinate back a cleric who had originally left his order for that diocese….clearly the order had been somewhat “economical with the truth”.

    For a missionary order priest, O’Flaherty appears to have served no time on the missions. Does not strike the reader as very strange?

  2. tanya says:

    or does the Bahamas count as “the missions”

  3. Sdc63 says:

    Does anyone know what happened with this case? Was it settled or is it still pending trial?

  4. Sylvia says:

    I will try to find out Sdc63

  5. SDC63 says:

    The father of this priest was a Schoolteacher in Co. Cork, Ireland. He raped one of his students, a 13 year old girl. She became pregnant as a result and had a child in 1932. That child was my father. This priest was the rapists first born child with his wife. This is a true story. It was reported in the local newspaper in Cork in 1931. I found out the details on a visit to my grandmother in the late 1980s. Up until that point, I and my siblings believed that she was my fathers older sister, and therefor our Aunt. He destroyed her life.

  6. judith says:

    O’Flaherty was an assistant pastor at the Immaculate Conception Church in Augusta, GA in the early fifties. He was also with the school and was believed to have impregnated a high school girl there. He was sent away mid-year, and it was never explained why. (Transfers, prior to his, were always made during the summer break.)
    SMA priests served all black/Negro churches and schools in the south until the sixties. Most of these were considered mission placements, but the SMA in Tenafly , NJ should be able to explain better. It had to do with segregation and their founder looked upon the Negro in the South the same as the African on the continent. Ditto for native Americans.

  7. Sylvia says:

    Thank you for the information judi. Do you know approximately which years he was at Immaculate Conception and the school?

  8. J.H. says:

    I believe that I can fill in the timeline a bit for the mid- to late-fifties. Starting with the 1956-57 academic year, and for some years thereafter, Fr. O’Flaherty was assigned to the Society of African Missions seminary in Dedham, Massachusetts (where I was a seminarian). I believe that he came to the seminary some time after his above-mentioned assignment in Georgia

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