Robert L. Kealy: Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to Be Credible

Robert L. Kealy

Ordained: 1972

  • 1960-1964: Quigley North Minor Seminary, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1964-1972: St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, IL (CHI)
  • 1971: St. Norbert, Northbrook, IL (CHI)
  • 1972-1977: St. Germaine, Oak Lawn, IL (CHI)
  • 1976-1982: Metropolitan Tribunal (CHI)
  • 1977-1978: St. Cletus, La Grange, IL (CHI)
  • 1978-1982: St. Boniface, Chicago, IL (CHI)
  • 1982-1985: Post Graduate Studies; Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy
  • 1985-1992: Queen of All Saints Basilica, Chicago, IL (CHI); Metropolitan Tribunal (CHI)
  • 1992-2001: Immaculate Conception, Highland Park, IL (CHI)
  • 2001-2002: Saints Faith, Hope and Charity, Winnetka, IL (CHI)
  • 2002-2005: Other Assignments; Cardinal Stritch Retreat House, Mundelein, IL (CHI)
  • 2006: Resigned
  • 2006-2019: Unknown

Fr. Robert Louis Kealy was ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1972. He worked as a canon and civil lawyer before he was ordained a priest. Fr. Kealy was accused of sexually abusing two brothers from 1972 to 1977 at St. Germaine in Oak Lawn, IL. From 1985 to 1992, Fr. Kealy was chancellor of the Archdiocese and served on the committee that monitored priests accused of sexual abuse until he was removed due to allegations against him involving sexual abuse. Fr. Kealy was removed from public ministry in 2002 and resigned in 2006 after he admitted to sexually abusing at least one survivor in 1977. According to the Archdiocese of Chicago, Fr. Kealy was laicized in 2018. Fr. Kealy’s included in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s list of Archdiocesan Priests with Substantiated Allegations of Sexual Misconduct with Minors. Whereabouts and whether he has access to children are unknown.

When a former chancellor, judicial vicar, and professor at DePaul University was accused of sexual assault, his favor with Cardinal Bernardin allowed allegations to remain hidden for more than a decade.

Fr. Robert Kealy was a rising star in the Archdiocese of Chicago. A canon and civil lawyer, he was a priest and a professor before becoming chancellor of the Archdiocese in 1985. Kealy resigned from that position in 1992, when he was accused of making sexual advances at a party. Because Kealy was prominent in his role in addressing abuse allegations against other priests, Cardinal Bernardin handled the allegations personally and made sure that there was no written record of the investigation, findings, or the results.

In 2001, a victim came forward anonymously to report that Kealy had abused him. Because the victim at first refused to be known, Kealy was allowed to remain in ministry. Soon after, another victim came forward. The victims, who were brothers, meet with Archdiocese officials.

Kealy admitted to sexually abusing at least one victim in 2003. He is permanently removed from ministry in 2005 for abuse that allegedly took place in 1977. For the next year, he continues working as a judge on the inter-diocesan Court of Appeals.

Kealy is still a priest and works as a civil attorney in Mundelein, IL, where he specializes in wills and trusts.

Fr. Robert Kealy Documents

Fr. Robert Kealy Timeline


1960-1964       Quigley North Minor Seminary

1964-1972       B.A., M.Div., S.T.L. Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein (AOC 015549)

1971                Deacon at St. Norbert’s in Northbrook

5/10/1972        Ordained

1972- Associate Pastor, St. Germaine’s in Oak Lawn (AOC 015556)

1975-1977       Sexual abuse of JD, male 13-15 years old. (AOC 015729, 015733-015734)

1976                Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law

1976                Admitted to Illinois Bar \

1976                Procurator/Advocate Metropolitan Tribunal (AOC 015558)

1977- Associate Pastor, St. Cletus in New Grange (AOC 015559)

1978-Associate Pastor, St. Boniface (AOC 015562)

1978-1982       Advocate and Judge at the Metropolitan Tribunal \

1979                Admitted to Bar of the United States Supreme Court

1981-1982       John Cardinal Cody confirms appointment of Kealy as Professor of Law DePaul University, Founder of Center for Church/State Studies (AOC 015563)

1981                Chaplain Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago (AOC 015564)

1982-1985       Rome, J.C.D. Gregorian University Faculty of Canon Law

1985-1992       Joseph Cardinal Bernardin appoints Kealy Chancellor, Board of Consultors, Director of Executive Services (AOC 015567)

1992                Kealy resigns as Chancellor following phone call claiming Kealy made an advance at a party. “This allegation was of great concern to Cardinal Bernardin since Bob was playing a major role in dealing with priests accused of misconduct with minors. …Cardinal Bernardin handled this matter himself and, apparently, there is no written record in existence.” (AOC 015707)

1992 – Pastor, Immaculate Conception in Highland Park (AOC 015557)

1992                Vice Chairman Midwest Patrons of the Vatican Museums

1994-2002       Judicial Vicar of the Metropolitan Tribunal (AOC 015604)

1996                According to a 2007 report, Kealy sexually abuses minor female at Immaculate Conception. (AOC 016341)

1997                Appointed Chairman of Advisory Board of Service Corporation International

1997                Accepted for 1998 Sabbatical to Europe and ICTE program in Rome but Kealy declines “due to a change in my personal circumstances”. (AOC 015661)

9/25/2000        Memo from McBrady to Goedert that Bernadin allowed Kealy to leave office quickly and quietly according to Pat O’Malley. (AOC 015707)

2001- Pastor, Saints Faith, Hope and Charity in Winnetka

6/28/2001        Reverend Jim Kaczorowski Vicar for Priests and Kathleen Leggdas of the AD meets with victim informs them of their right to make a child abuse report to Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. (AOC 015725)

6/28/2001        Reverend Jim Kaczorowski and Katheleen Leggdas meet with Kealy at 2pm, inform him of the complaint, the name of the survivors, two brothers. Kealy admits to smoking pot and drinking alcohol in the rectory with the boys but not grabbing their crotch. (AOC 015726-15728)

6/30/2001        Professional Fitness Review Board determines accusation not reasonable cause to suspect sexual abuse of a minor. (AOC 015731)

3/25/2002        Survivor provides additional information, that he told another minor of the abuse by Kealy at that time, Father Kaczorowski called and confirmed. (AOC 015819)

3/25/2002        Kealy called to Vicar for Priests office, admits sexual misconduct to Reverend Jim Kaczorowski. (AOC 015792)

3/25/2002        Kealy resigns as Pastor to reside at Cardinal Stritch Retreat House, Koenig Hall at Mundelein. (AOC 015752-15753)

3/27/2002        Kealy put on safety plan, no contact with minors. (AOC 015762)

4/28/2002        Memo from Kealy to Cardinal George on Child Sexual Abuse cases. Kealy advises George the statute of limitations has passed on his cases. (AOC 015795- 15797)

6/28/2002        Kealy placed on AD monitoring program. (AOC 015823)

11/18/2002      Kealy continues as Judicial Vicar of Court of Appeals. (AOC 015854)

1/14/2003        Kealy files appeal to Cardinal Ratzinger via the Papal Nuncio. (AOC 015869)

5/23/2003        Cardinal George appoints Leah McCluskey to investigate and monitor Kealy for an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor. (AOC 015963)

7/31/2003        Kealy case forwarded to CDF. (AOC 016056)

7/22/2005        Degree of Cardinal George. Kealy engaged in inappropriate touching of a minor at St. Germaine parish in Oak Law on June 3, 1977. Kealy’s faculties are withdrawn. Kealy is allowed to function as an Ecclesiastical Judge on Interdiocesan Court of Appeals. (AOC 106164)

4/22/2006        Kealy submits letter of resignation. (AOC 016325)

5/15/2006        Catholic Bishop of Chicago writes check for $38,038.00 to Kealy and purchases an annuity for Kealy. (AOC 016289-16291)