Fr. Linus Hennessy (Franciscans) – Diocese of Buffalo

Father Linus Hennessy

Diocese of Buffalo

Ordained: <1949

Died: 1983

Assigned as follows:

  • St. Bernardine College (England)
  • Retreat ministry (Australia)
  • Bishop Timon High School (Buffalo, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Linus Hennessy:

Father Linus Hennessy was born and ordained a Franciscan Priest in Ireland. He is believed to have arrived in Buffalo, NY in 1954. Aside from his assignments, he also had a radio ministry called “Comfort My People” on the Christian Broadcasting Network. He died in May 1993. 

According to media reports, in a 2015 news conference, a man publicly accused Father Hennessy of sexually abusing him as a 10-year-old boy for five years, first once a week, then daily, beginning in 1973. The abuse included oral sex, masturbation and attempted intercourse. The alleged victim said Father Hennessy was a father figure to him, who was assigned to help his single mom with her four children. The abuse occurred in his home when his mother was at work and at Bishop Timon High School. The suit alleges, after each incident Father Hennessy told the boy not to tell anyone what happened and offered him money to keep quiet. 

“He started touching me, taking my hand and rubbing his leg, unzipping his pants [and] putting my hand in it,” the man said.

When he told his story to the Diocese of Buffalo in 2008, he was rejected due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. He was offered $50,000 to settle his claim, but he rejected it. He did allow payment for his counseling, and asked Pope Francis to investigate his case. Despite his plea for help, he never received a response from the Vatican.

In 2015, the man joined other alleged victims lobbying the state legislature for an extension of the Statute of Limitations so childhood victims could bring civil actions as adults. In August 2019, the man filed a lawsuit under the NY Child Victims Act. 

In May 2019, another man alleged that he was molested as a teenager by Father Hennessy and Father White. “Hennessy punched me between the legs one time, so hard that I started to cry. He told me, ‘If you ever tell anyone about this, this will only be the beginning of what happens to you.’ I never said a word to anyone for almost fifty years.” 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Buffalo, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo 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 adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.