Fr Kevin O’Donnell (John Kevin O’Donnell)

Fr Kevin O’Donnell (Born 22 October 1916, Deceased in 1997 as a priest), was an ordained priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.   Over his career as a priest between 1946 and until up to 1992 when he retired, O’Donnell had reported sexually abused children “to the very end”. 

Fr Kevin O’Donnell was known as a businessman and a fund-raiser, and was revered by the Catholic community and parishes. 

Below are a list of parishes that Fr O’Donnell served in.  His involvement in the community and the schools that were within the parishes meant that victims were not confined to these parishes.   Sexual abuses occurred in churches, presbyteries, public places, and schools he served in. 

  • South Melbourne (Saints Peter and Paul parish), briefly, in late 1942;

  • Balaclava (St Colman's parish), 1943-4,

  • Chelsea (St Joseph's, which was then part of Frankston parish), 1944-9;

  • Seymour (Immaculate Conception parish), 1949-56;

  • East Melbourne (St John the Evangelist church, Victoria Parade, which was attached to the Cathedral parish), 1956;

  • Dandenong (St Mary's parish), 1956-69;

  • Hastings (Immaculate Conception parish), 1969-76; and

  • Oakleigh (Sacred Heart parish), 1976-92.

Reported schools, and churches where some of the victims had come into contact and/or reported to have sexually abused by him include:

  • St John’s College, Dandenong

  • St Mary’s School, Dandenong

  • Parish Church in Doveton

  • Sacred Heart Primary School, Oakleigh (Chaplain)

  • St Bede’s College, Mentone  

  • St Joseph’s Church, Chelsea

Findings from the Royal Commission were satisfied that the in 1986 Archbishop Little as given notice of Fr O’Donnell sexually abusing a child at the St John’s Parish, and that Archbishop Little failed to act to take “immediate and effective action” upon Fr O’Donnell with this information. 

We have acted for a number of  victims of Fr O’Donnell in their claims for compensation against the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.  The schools that the victims attended include Sacred Heart Primary School, St Bede’s College, and St Mary’s School, Dandenong.