Fr. Leonardo Mateo – Diocese of Brooklyn

Father Leonardo Mateo 

Diocese of Brooklyn

Ordained: 1959

Removed: 1991

Died: 2004

Assigned as follows:

  • 1956-1959      Cathedral (Tagbilaran City, Philippines) 
  • 1960                St. Anastasia (Los Angeles, CA)  
  • 1961-1965      Greenpoint Hospital (Brooklyn, NY) 
  • 1966-1975      Diocesan Procurator, Diocese of Tagbilaran (Philippines)  
  • 1976                St. Patrick’s Cathedral (El Paso, TX)  
  • 1976-1979      Santa Isabel Catholic Church (Los Angeles, CA)  
  • 1978-1982      Immaculate Conception (Elmhurst, IL)   
  • 1983-1984      St. Petronille (Glen Ellyn, IL)  
  • 1985                St. Nicholas (Virginia Beach, VA)  
  • 1986                Veterans Administration Hospitals and Chaplains (North Chicago, IL)  
  • 1987-1989      Immaculate Conception B.V.M. (Waukegan, IL)
  • 1990-1991      Veterans Administration Hospitals and Chaplains (North Chicago, IL) 
  • 1992                St. Bede (Ingleside, IL)  
  • 1997-2003      Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa Catholic Church (Los Angeles, CA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Leonardo Mateo:

Father Leonardo Mateo was ordained in the Archdiocese of Cebu, Philippines. He arrived in the United States in 1959 and worked for many years as an extern priest throughout the country. According to media reports, he was accused of child sexual abuse multiple times while working in the Diocese of Tagbilaran, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Diocese of Joliet. In August 1960, he left Los Angeles to pursue studies at Fordham University.

In 2003, Father Mateo was named in a lawsuit alleging he sexually abused a child in 1959, while at St. Anastasia’s in Los Angeles. In 2004, he died in the Philippines, and was named on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors.

In March 2013, Father Mateo’s name appeared on Diocese of Joliet’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. In April 2014, his personnel files were released as part of the settlement of another lawsuit filed by three men, two of whom are brothers, alleging child sexual abuse by the priest in 1980, while he worked at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst, Illinois. 

According to the suit, from 1980 to 1982, Father Mateo invited the children, ages of 6 through 10, out for ice cream and fast food. He also took the boys to swim at the YMCA in Elmhurst, where he allegedly repeatedly molested them in the pool or locker room. A settlement of $1.4 million was reached in August 2018.

In 2019, Father Mateo was named on the Diocese of Richmond’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. That June, his name appeared on Diocese of Richmond’s list. It noted his ordination year as 1956.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Brooklyn, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to to discuss your options today.