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Saunders and Walker
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The Diocese of Rockville Centre suffered a setback in court this week when Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Steven Jaeger denied the Diocese’s motion to stay the lawsuits.  The Diocese has argued that the lawsuits may force it into bankruptcy.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed its own lawsuit last November to fight the constitutionality of New York’s Child Victims Act that was passed in February 2019 allowing victims of childhood abuse — for a one-year period to bring claims regardless of when the abuse occurred.

The Diocese, which serves more than 1.4 million Catholics in Nassau and Suffolk counties, has since asked for 86 sex abuse cases brought against it to be put on hold pending an appeal of their case fighting the CVA. The Diocese argued the stay was essential because the cost of fighting the appeal and the sex abuses cases all at once could drive it to bankruptcy.

“The Court finds that the delay in seeking justice has already been significant and further delay is not justified,” Jaeger’s decision reads. “Many CVA plaintiffs state they have been dealing with the effects of the abuse they were subjected to for decades and that this abuse was allegedly permitted to occur by the negligence, willful blindness and/or knowing cover-up by the Diocese and others.”

Rockville Centre has fought survivors for decades even during a grand jury investigation nearly two decades ago which concluded that the diocese’s bishops covered up the sexual abuse of minor by Rockville Centre priests.

The Grand Jury Report, release in February 2003, concluded,

“Priests  assigned  to  and  working  in  the  Diocese  of  Rockville  Centre  committed  criminal  acts  in  violation  of  New  York  State  Penal  Law  Article  130,  Sex  Offenses,  and  other  statutes  designed to protect the health, safety  and  welfare  of  children.  These criminal acts included, but were not limited to, Rape, Sodomy, Sexual Abuse, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance. Not one priest in the Diocese who knew about these criminal acts reported them to any law enforcement agency.  Frequently,  because  of  the  nature  of  child  sexual  abuse  the  victims  of  this  criminal activity  do  not  and  did  not,  in  these  cases,  disclose  it  until  they  were  adults.  This  was  almost  always  after  the  statute  of  limitations  for  the  criminal  prosecution  of  these  crimes  had  lapsed.  Even when offender priests were sent to an out of state Diocese the tolling provisions of the New York  State  Criminal  Procedure  Law  did  not  effectively  work  to  allow  a  criminal  prosecution.  The limitations contained therein precluded the prosecution of offenders living out of the state. The  Grand  Jury  concludes  that  officials  in  the  Diocese  failed  in  their  responsibility  to  protect  children.  They  ignored  credible  complaints  about  the  sexually  abusive  behaviors  of  priests.  They  failed  to  act  on  obvious  warning  signs  of  sexual  abuse  including  instances  where they  were  aware  that  priests  had  children  in  their  private  rooms  in  the  rectory  overnight,  that  priests  were  drinking  alcohol  with  underage  children  and  exposing  them  to  pornography.  Even where a priest disclosed sexually abusive behavior with children officials failed to act to remove him from ministry.”

Anyone who knows the history in Rockville Centre should applaud the judge’s ruling. See more information below.

The Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis

 

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