Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

All inquiries should be addressed to the Larchmont Historical Society.

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Mamaroneck Priest Pleads Guilty to Groping

Updated November 24: According to a release from Mamaroneck Village Police, a 38-year-old visiting priest from Ecuador formerly serving at St. Vito’s Church  in Mamaroneck Village pled guilty on Friday, November 20 to groping a parishioner during a marriage counseling session in January, 2004. Father Richard Ordoñez had been about to go to trial on several more serious charges of sex abuse. (See: Mamaroneck Priest Charged With Sexually Abusing A Woman.)

The hearing on Friday was before Judge Jeffrey Cohen, whose court handles sex offenses.

“It was a big drama, back and forth,” on the amount of community service the priest was willing to perform, noted one observer. It took about two hours to negotiate the plea, which ultimately included a cap of 500 hours of community service.

Formal sentencing will be on January 12. By pleading guilty to one count of forcible touching, a Class A misdemeanor (the highest), Father Ordoñez no longer faces a possible prison sentence. The maximum sentence for the misdemeanor is one year in the Westchester County Jail.

Victim Lauded by Police

Father Richard Ordonez

Father Richard Ordoñez

The release from the Mamaroneck police gave credit to the victim for pursuing the case: “Detective Richard Carroll indicated the inner strength of the victim brought Father Ordonez to justice. The Detective is well aware the victim had been victimized twice. Once by Father Ordonez, and then again by members of the parish who belittled this woman for bringing Father Ordonez to justice.”

The unidentified victim, an adult woman, reported the abuse on September 24, 2008, when she learned the priest would be returning to St. Vito’s after some time out of the country.  The victim accused the priest of grabbing her breasts and attempting to sexually assault her.

Father Ordoñez, who had been questioned by Mamaroneck Village police on December 6, was apprehended two days later at JFK airport as he was about to board a plane to Ecuador.

He was held at the Westchester County jail for some weeks, but since then has been out on $50,000 bail.  After learning of the arrest, the New York Archdiocese revoked the priest’s authority to serve in the parish.

Shortly after the arrest, the Gazette spoke with a social service agency case manager who said she knew of four other women who claimed to have been sexually abused by the priest. One woman said she had been forced to have sex with him.

However, neither the case manager nor any of the other women came forward. Father Ordoñez had many supporters among the St. Vito parishioners.

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3 comments to Mamaroneck Priest Pleads Guilty to Groping

  • Stand up 4 your rights

    Truly Dispicable!!! One more predator hiding behind the cloth put behind bars where he belongs!! Too bad it took this long to get rid of this filth. Quite frankly, I do not believe the bail is set high enough and should be raised.

    Women and children need to be protected from such scum in America. When are the men out there going to be come so enraged and vigilante against sexual misconduct, harrassment and child abuse when they start standing up and doing something about this epidemic that permeates our society?!! It does not affect them directly the way it does other groups as mentioned above so does that mean they continue to stand by and do nothing until after the damage is done?? Really!

    After 9/11, the Western world called for Men of Islamic faith to stand up against the terrorists – and many were furious that they did nothing. However, isn’t it hypocritical when domestic terrorism, which is what sexual abuse really is, continues to “flourish” in our society yet Western men stand by and do nothing until it’s too late, if at all?

    I wonder what it would be like to live in a society where sexual abuse did not exist? Where chidren could fully trust adults and where women were treated as true equals?? Or is that never going to be possible in our world??

    A 5 year old little girl was brutally raped and murdered this past week in North Carolina after her own Mother allegedly “offered her up” to a predatory monster in exchange for a drug debt; tonight there are tears in heaven from a very young and trusting child who wasn’t even protected by her own Mother. There isn’t a scenario sadder or more terrifying than the one which Shanyia Davis experienced during her last living day. May she find peace and love with her new family in heaven – and may she at last, feel safe.

    Society must finally get determined to protect our youngest and most vulnerable, be it children, women or animals, from such atrocities as sexual, physical and emotional abuse. It is simply unacceptable to do anything else other than this.

  • Compassionate

    You are right to be outraged and I am sure all of us are. But I don’t think we should blame “all men” for one man’s criminal act. Don’t forget that there is a history of some Priests assaulting young boys as well.

  • Carol Weller Berlin

    As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for 15 years, I am poignantly aware of the many ways children are abused and neglected in our society; frequently by authority figures and loved ones in their own communities.

    That the abusers are our friends, neighbors, pastors, teachers, etc., means that we need to let go of denial and stop empowering the abusers of our children.

    I grew up in Larchmont and it took 50+ years to find out that many of us (kids) suffered abuse at the hands of authority figures.

    Please take the time to know who interacts with your children, and make time to thank the selfless folks who support and empower them.