Pastor at Our Lady of Fatima steps down after accusation of sexual abuse

The Rev. Steven Peterson of Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Manorhaven has stepped down from his post over his alleged abuse of a minor more than 40 years ago.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre said in a news release that the allegation has been reported to civil authorities and the diocese is unaware of any additional allegations against Peterson.

Peterson stepped down voluntarily, according to the diocese, while the matter is investigated. The diocese did not say where the alleged abuse occurred.

The accusation was reported recently through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the news release said.

The program has been implemented at a number of diocese in the country and offers compensation to victims who bring forward claims of abuse. If the individual finds the payment to be acceptable and subsequently signs a release, he or she waives the rights to litigate the matter.

Peterson began as the pastor at Our Lady of Fatima in 2008. Prior to his time in Port Washington, he served at various churches in Suffolk County since 1972.

The churches where Peterson served as a priest included the Roman Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd in Holbrook, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Babylon and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in East Islip.

“We ask for your prayers during these days, which are difficult for all of those involved,” the Diocese of Rockville Centre said.

Peterson was not immediately available to comment.

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Jessica Parks

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