In 1985, Fr. Matthew Fitzgerald was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy. Fr. Fitzgerald worked at St. Brigid’s in Westbury, New York, when he allegedly sexually abused the boy in approximately the mid-1980s. In 1989, he was transferred to the Diocese of Palm Beach. Multiple survivors have alleged that Fr. Fitzgerald perpetrated child sexual abuse against them at the Florida parishes where he worked in the 1990s.
Fr. Fitzgerald retired in 2001, but the Diocese of Palm Beach allowed him to work in a limited capacity for the Catholic charity Food for the Poor. In 2002, Fr. Fitzgerald was laicized after he allegedly tried to say a public Mass and recruit people for a pilgrimage. In 2003, Fr. Fitzgerald was named in another lawsuit filed in New York by survivors of child sexual abuse.
In 2002, a grand jury was convened to investigate the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations. The Suffolk County Grand Jury’s description of Priest B matches public allegations against Fr. Fitzgerald.
Fr. Matthew Fitzgerald was ordained a priest in Ireland at St. Columban and St. Patrick on June 8, 1968. He worked at the following locations in the Dioceses of Rockville Centre and Palm Beach:
- 1970-1974: St. Hedwig’s, Floral Park, NY
- 1974-1978: St. Pius X, Plainview, NY
- 1978-1982: Holly Patterson Home, Uniondale, NY
- 1982-1985: St. Brigid’s, Westbury, NY
- 1985-1986: St. Matthew’s, Dix Hills, NY (In charge of youth ministry)
- 1986-1989: St. Patrick’s, Smithtown, NY
- 1989-1991: St. Ignatius Loyola, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
- 1992-1993: St. Lucie’s, Port St. Lucie, FL
- 1994-1996: Our Lady of Lourdes, Boca Raton, FL
- 1997-1998: St. Lucie’s, Port St. Lucie, FL
- 1999-2001: On leave
- 2001: Retired
Fr. Matthew Fitzgerald also worked at the Food for the Poor charity in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Fr. Fitzgerald was residing in Pompano Beach, Florida, as of December 2004.
(Sources: www.bishop-accountability.org; http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ny-rockvillecentre/accused_priests.htm#fitzgerald)
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