The Archdiocese of Baltimore has removed from active ministry a retired priest accused of inappropriately touching three women.
Father Joseph O’Meara, who lived at St. Agnes/St. William of York Parish in Catonsville near West Baltimore, was “recently ... separately accused by three adult women of touching them inappropriately,” according to a letter signed by Father Isaac Makovo sent to parishioners in December. He no longer lives at the parish’s residences, according to the letter.
O’Meara could not immediately be reached for comment.
All three incidents were reported to church officials within the same day. Two of the women told church officials the incidents took place that same day and the third woman, who decided to come forward after learning of the other women, said she was inappropriately touched two days earlier, Archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said in an email.
Caine was unable to provide dates of the incidents, but said they allegedly took place between November and December.
Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Natalie Litofsky said she had not located any reports involving the incidents in the department’s system.
In a statement included in the December letter, the Archdiocese of Baltimore encouraged other victims of unwanted touching and sexual misconduct to come forward.
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore is committed to ensuring safe environments not only for children in its care, but for adults as well. We urge anyone who has knowledge of inappropriate conduct by clergy or other Church personnel to report it to Church officials using the instructions found on the Archdiocesan website (www.archbalt.org) by clicking on the “Ethics Hotline” tab at the top of the home page or by calling 888-572-8026.”
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O’Meara joins a long list of religious leaders in the Baltimore area accused of sexual misconduct. Catholic leaders in the region have pushed to increase reports of wrongdoing and called on clergy to confront the sexual abuse crisis. Last year, Archbishop William Lori said the archdiocese plans to incorporate more lay people in church affairs and update its child protection policies.