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Advocate wants former Belmont Abbey priest named as child sexual abuser

Father Timothy Kelly, named in a sex abuse lawsuit out of New York last year, worked at Belmont Abbey from 1989 to 1991.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The names of more than 40 clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing children before, during or after their time in the Diocese of Charlotte are now public, but just weeks after church leaders released that long-awaited list, we've learned there are still others who served in our area who were not named.

"The point is that other church entities have recognized various perpetrators, whether it's Franciscan or other [religious orders] and they have served there," advocate Patrick Wall said.

Wall, a former monk, worked under Father Timothy Kelly at St. John's Abbey in Minnesota. Kelly later spent three years at Belmont Abbey in Gaston County from 1989-1991 as an administrator.

Kelly, who did not work with the Diocese of Charlotte, has faced sex abuse allegations from multiple victims in other parts of the country.

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"All five of these folks don't know one another and they all tell exactly the same story," Wall said of the victims.

Kelly is currently named in a pending lawsuit out of New York. Wall works for Jeff Anderson and Associates, the law firm that filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges the sexual abuse of an unnamed victim by Kelly in 1965 in New York City.

"He did the exact same pattern of behavior, which is the classic crime of solicitation for sex in the confessional," Wall said.

Regardless where or when the alleged abuse occurred, Wall said the now deceased priest needs to be named publicly.

"He was a priest, he was ministering to the people of North Carolina and he was in charge of many monks who were functioning as priests in the Diocese of Charlotte," Wall said.

Diocese officials have said they only named clergy members who "served in a parish, school or ministry under the authority of the diocese and have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor."

"We have no record of Father Timothy Kelly serving in ministry for the Diocese of Charlotte," the diocese said in a statement Friday.

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Belmont Abbey Monastery, an independent religious community governed by the Benedictines, is considered a separate jurisdiction from the Diocese of Charlotte. The abbey has only named two monks linked to sex abuse, both last year. Neither one was Kelly.

A spokesperson for Belmont Abbey said, according to records, the abbey "has never received allegations of any kind against Father Kelly...and we have no information about the lawsuit you reference."

Belmont Abbey said St. John's Abbey in Minnesota is the ultimate authority over Kelly's service.

St. John's Abbey previously released its own list of credibly accused clergy members. Father Kelly is not on that list. In its response to the most recent lawsuit out of New York, St. John's Abbey denied the allegations of sexual abuse.

Just a short time after leaving Belmont Abbey, Kelly went on to help create a sexual trauma institute for victims and perpetrators of clergy sex abuse.

In response to WCNC's story Friday, Belmont Abbery released the following statement:

Saint John’s Abbey has a formalized process for reviewing allegations in order to determine whether or not a monk has been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor, involving an external review board.  The allegation set forth in this new lawsuit has not yet been through the external review board process.   At this time, Timothy Kelly is not on Saint John’s Abbey’s list of those who are likely to have offended against a minor.  


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