Catholic Priest and Former Mayor of Plattsburgh Accused of Abuse, SNAP Calls for Investigation by Law Enforcement
A lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg alleging sexual abuse of a minor at the hands of two of their priests, one of whom eventually became the mayor of Plattsburgh, NY. We hope that this news encourages others to come forward. However, we are concerned that other allegations may have been suppressed due to the power and political connections of the former mayor.
The two priests accused in this lawsuit are Fr Roland H. St. Pierre and Father Joseph A. Conti. Fr. Conti has been sued before, but this lawsuit represents the first publicly made allegation against Fr. St. Pierre, who was the mayor of Plattsburgh from 1972 to 1977. Notably. Fr. Conti was included on the first list of accused released by Catholic officials in Ogdensburg, while Fr. St. Pierre’s name was not.
There is no doubt that Fr. St. Pierre had a unique and powerful position in both the parish and the town he led. We can only wonder if allegations against him were repressed due to his political power and stature in the community. We know that when abusers are in positions of authority, they tend to use that power to further their own crimes. We hope that the police in Plattsburgh are investigating whether any crimes were committed or covered up during Fr. St. Pierre’s tenure as Mayor.
We also call on Bishop Terry LaValley to personally visit each parish where either Fr. Conti or Fr. St. Pierre worked and urge others who may have seen or suffered abuse at their hands to come forward. We also call on the bishop to use every resource at his disposal to share the information from this lawsuit, to encourage others to come forward to the police, and to help bring other still silent victims forward.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(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)