Diocese apparently sat on allegations against Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus; SNAP up in arms

According to the New York state electronic filing system, a lawsuit was filed in October of 2019 by Victor Petit-Phare against the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, St. Jerome’s School and Church, and Bishop Guy A. Sansaricq. The complaint accused Bishop Sansaricq of child sexual abuse while he was a priest at St. Jerome’s in the early 1990s.  As best we can tell, the Diocese never uttered a single word about the allegations against the Bishop.

We know that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare, and we stand with Victor. It is wrong for Catholic officials, who the whole world now knows have shielded abusive clerics in the past, to withhold information that would help other victims to find the courage to come forward rather than to sit alone and in the silence.  Child sex abuse accusations should be made public as quickly and broadly as possible. Otherwise, perpetrators are given the chance to rally support, intimidate survivors, abuse others, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, and even to flee the country.

Although Bishop Sansaricq died on Saturday, earlier in the week he was walking the streets with parishioners and living at St. Matthew in Brooklyn.  The Bishop was also slated to help the Haitian Apostolate with relief efforts in the recent earthquake tragedy in his home country.

In New York, the Child Victims Act has unearthed years of pain held by victims of sexual assault. We are outraged that in this case it appears that once again Catholic officials failed to act to help survivors heal and to protect today's children. To us, it was reckless on the part of Church leaders to keep the allegations against Bishop Sansaricq under wraps.

We applaud Victor for his courage in speaking out. We encourage anyone who may have suffered harm at the hands of Bishop Sansaricq, or anyone who may have witnessed or suspected abuse, to come forward to law enforcement and make a report.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), 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)

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