Members of Holy Name of Mary-Assumption Parish, which serves Montgomery and Maybrook, expressed shock and disbelief after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor came out against Reverend Daniel O’Hare, who has been pastor of the church since 1996.
The alleged misconduct would have occurred in the 1990s. The allegation was forwarded to the archdiocese from the Orange County District Attorney.
Several members described O’Hare as a kind, spiritual man who cares about his congregants above all else.
“He is a wonderful, kind man who always put people ahead of himself,” church member Judy Nelson said.
Church member Pete Cunningham said they do not believe the allegations against O’Hare are true and will stand behind the pastor with their congregation. They agreed the kind-hearted man they know could not commit such a horrific act, and did not believe the allegations.
According to church members, he visited the Montgomery nursing home, visited sick people in the hospital and their homes, and had a good sense of humor.
Nelson said she hoped for a favorable outcome.
A letter sent to parishioners from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said the archdiocese will follow its policies and procedures for these situations. The archdiocese will have outside independent investigators, who are former federal agents, investigate and assess the allegation, before presenting all the information to the independent Lay Review Board.
The board will carefully consider the information and statements from both alleged victim and O’Hare. The board will then inform the cardinal whether or not they find the claim credible or substantiated. If the allegations are found not credible, O’Hare may return to the parish.
Dolan urged anyone who has information regarding this or similar allegations to contact the district attorney.