Hartford List of Accused Clerics Includes A Priest Who Also Worked in NYC

A former Staten Island priest was named as a "credibly accused" cleric yesterday by Catholic officials in Connecticut

The clergyman is Fr. Edward Tissera, a native of Sri Lanka, who also worked at St. Clare's on Staten Island from 1997-2000The parish had a school with around 700 students and a religious education program with roughly 2000 students. Fr. Tissera also went by the names W. Edward Julian Tissera, Edward J. Tissera, Edward Warnakulasuriya, and Edward Warnakulasooriya.

We implore anyone who may have been abused by Fr. Tissera on Staten Island or elsewhere in NY state, or who witnessed or suspected such abuse, to contact the NYPD immediately. Reports should also be made to the NY's Attorney General by either filling out the online form or calling 1-800-771-7755.  Survivors, witnesses and whistle blowers can also contact groups like ours for help and support as they come forward. 

We hope that Cardinal Timothy Dolan will join us in urging his parishioners to report clergy sex crimes by Fr. Tissera or others to law enforcement. As the leader of the Archdiocese of New York, the Cardinal should remind his flock in no uncertain terms that this is the right thing to do. 

Fr. Tissera was ordained in 1989. After leaving New York, the priest was moved to Connecticut, where he worked in parishes in six Connecticut towns,Watertown, West Hartford, Enfield, New Britain, Waterbury and Tariffville.

There are a couple of suspicious gaps in Fr. Tissera's Official Catholic Directory listings, from 2003-2004 and again from 2006-2007. His whereabouts during those periods of time is unknown.

In July 2011, the priest was put on leave by the Archdiocese of Hartford after a teenager reported that the priest touched his pubic area during confessions on several occasion in 2010 and 2011. Fr. Tissera was arrested in August of 2011 and found guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault the following year. The clergyman was sentenced to three years' probation. 

In 2014, Fr. Tissera was sued for the repeated sexual assault of a 13 to 14 year-old boy in Watertown, CT,  in 2000 and 2001. The lawsuit that settled in 2016

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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