Fr. John Peter Lenihan: Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors

Fr. John Peter Lenihan

Ordination: 1969


1970-1974 All Souls, Alhambra, CA
1975-1977 St. Angela Merici, Brea, CA
1978-1982 St. Norbert, Orange, CA
1983-1995 St. Boniface, Anaheim, CA
1996-2001 St. Edward Church, Dana Point, CA
2001 Removed from Diocese
2002 Laicized
2002-2018 Unknown

Notes: Fr. Lenihan grew up in Ireland and was ordained in Los Angeles in 1969. In 1990, after being named in a civil lawsuit, Fr. Lenihan admitted to having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl on multiple occasions during the summer of 1978. In approximately 1978, the step-father of the girl who was sexually abused, wrote a letter to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Orange warning them of Fr. Lenihan’s conduct with his stepdaughter. Fr. Lenihan says that Church officials knew of his conduct but still
assigned him to St. Boniface in Anaheim. Fr. Lenihan underwent therapy in 1982 for eight months. Fr. Lenihan was accused of impregnating a 16-year-old girl and paying for an abortion in approximately 1982. In 2001, Fr. Lenihan was allegedly sent to a counseling program in Canada, but he did not complete the program. Fr. Lenihan agreed to request laicization after an investigations was done into the Diocese of Orange’s priests in 2002. In 2002, Fr. Lenihan was named in a civil lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse that occurred in the late 1970s. Fr. Lenihan worked in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles until 1976, when the Diocese of Orange was created. Fr. Lenihan was publicly named on the Diocese of Orange’s accounting of clergymen accused of sexually molesting children. Fr. Lenihan’s current whereabouts and whether he has access to children are unknown.