The North Bend Eagle


Cleary removed from ministry after allegation

Published 10/31/18

OMAHA – The Archdiocese of Omaha released a statement Sunday saying it has permanently removed the Rev. Donald Cleary from public ministry after the retired priest did not contest an alligation that he sexually abused a minor in the mid-1980s.


Cleary served as the pastor at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Bend and St. Leo in Snyder from 2006 to 2015.

Deacon Tim McNiel, chancellor of the archdiocese, said the complaints filed earlier this month are the first time the archdiocese has received an alligation of sexual misconduct against Cleary. When confronted, Cleary did not admit or deny the allegation, McNeil said.

The complaint stems from his time at St. Mary’s in Wayne, where he served from 1986 to 1998.

The allegation came to light earlier this month, when the victim and his mother reported it to the Archdiocese of Omaha.

Cleary, 73, served in the ministry for 44 years before retiring in 2015 after leaving North Bend. He continued to celebrate Masses in Omaha in retirement.

As of Oct. 19, Cleary was removed from his assignment in Omaha, restricted from wearing clerical garb and forbidden to reside on parish property, though he remains an ordained priest.

Wayne County Attorney Michael Pieper told the Omaha World-Herald that no charges will be filed because the statue of limitations has run out. Both Pieper and McNiel declined to provide further details of the allegations.


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