New Brooklyn Lawsuit Highlights the Fact that the Catholic Abuse Scandal Is Not Limited to Clergy

As this lawsuit against a Catholic nun illustrates, the problem of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church goes beyond just clerics. We believe that by excluding women religious, brothers, lay employees and volunteers from among the named perpetrators, the Diocese of Brooklyn is attempting to minimize  the scope of abuse in its see. The diocese also limits the number of perpetrators by excluding order and extern clergy. While Brooklyn is not the only see to adopt this tactic, we believe that to help survivors and the families of victims heal and to protect today's children these lists should be as comprehensive as possible.

While we have no firsthand information about the allegations in this case, we know that false allegations of child sexual abuse are rare. Our hearts ache for the abuse this man endured, and we applaud his courage in coming forward and taking advantage of his rights under the Child Victims Act.

We urge Bishop Nicholas Anthony DiMarzio to do outreach to any others who may have been hurt by this deceased sister. The bishop should publicize all of her work assignments and beg any victims, witnesses, and whistle-blowers to speak up.

We also call on Bishop DiMarzio to add this nun to his list of abusers. In addition, we encourage him to expand the list so it is fully transparent and accurate by including any and all perpetrators - diocesan, order and extern clergy of all ranks, women religious, brothers, lay employees and volunteers. Only when the full extent of the problem is known can future crimes be prevented, survivors and families of victims begin to heal, and parents and caregivers take steps to protect today's children.

CONTACT:  Brian R Toale, SNAP Manhattan Leader ([email protected], 646-657-9278), Dan McNevin, SNAP Board Member ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 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

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant