NY--Judge OKs unusual child sex suit; Victims respond
For immediate release: Monday, Dec. 14, 2015
A significant new legal ruling lets a novel clergy abuse and cover up lawsuit proceed. We’re grateful for this innovative approach, the judge who approved it and for the brave victim who is bringing it.
She and her lawyers charge Long Island Catholic officials are creating a “public nuisance” by withholding names and information about Rockville Centre child molesting clerics. Already, these “nuisance” suits have helped to disclose more deeply-held and embarrassing church secrets in Minnesota. We hope this suit will do so in New York too.
The lawsuit seeks an order requiring Bishop William Murphy to publicly disclose the identities and whereabouts of at least 66 allegedly sexually abusive priests. (Roughly 30 US bishops have done this, almost always in the face of considerable public, parishioner and legal pressure. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm)
Many assume that the public knows all about Catholic clergy abuse and cover up cases. It does not. We are convinced there is crucial information about how Long Island Catholic officials deal with these predators that church figures are still hiding.
Catholic officials have put out a very sanitized version of how they handle pedophile priests. Parents, police, parishioners, prosecutors and the public deserve more. We hope this new, ground-breaking suit will pry that helpful information out of the files, hands and mouths of current and former top Catholic officials here.
Kids are still being assaulted by Catholic clergy. Bishops are still hiding predator priests. So something more and new must be tried so that more of the truth can be revealed, more of the wrongdoers can be exposed, and more of the vulnerable can be protected.
Today’s decision should send alarm bells ringing among New York employers: Endanger kids and you will suffer consequences. And alarm bells should be ringing among New York child molesters: Despite the state’s predator-friendly statute of limitations, your impunity is ever-so-slowly eroding.
We thank this judge. We thank this victim. And we hope that other victims across the U.S. are inspired by this ruling to try similar or other ground-breaking legal strategies to use the courts to expose predators, prevent crimes and end cover ups.
Similar suits using the “public nuisance” rationale have been filed in Minnesota and Illinois too.
Fr. Yacyshyn has also worked at churches in Bay Shore and Greelawn.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Court Rules That Abuse Survivor's Public Nuisance Claims Against Diocese of Rockville Centre May Proceed
(GARDEN CITY, N.Y.) - A lawsuit alleging that the actions of the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre regarding clergy sex abuse constitute a public nuisance will be allowed to proceed in New York Supreme Court in Nassau County. The Diocese of Rockville Centre has refused to release a full list of its priests that have been credibly accused of child sex abuse or the documents regarding sexually abusive priests.
The plaintiff alleges that she was sexually abused as a minor by a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Fr. Gregory Yacyshyn. The lawsuit seeks an order requiring the Diocese of Rockville Centre to publicly disclose the identities and whereabouts of at least 66 allegedly sexually abusive priests associated with the Diocese, which encompasses Long Island, New York. In 2003, a Suffolk County Grand Jury issued a report finding that the Diocese failed in its duty to protect children.
"The failure of any institution to disclose the identity and whereabouts of known child sexual abusers is a public safety nightmare,” said Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates, an attorney for the plaintiff. “This decision is a big step towards required disclosure of perils long kept secret and transparency.”
Similar nuisance lawsuits in other states have resulted in disclosure of the identities of numerous clerical sexual abusers and thousands of pages of documents showing the Catholic Church hierarchy’s knowledge of the abusers. This ruling on plaintiff’s nuisance claim is the first of its kind in New York and could lead to a significant increase in child safety.
"Those brave survivors who continue to suffer in silence deserve to know that they are not alone and that those responsible will be held accountable," said Mike Reck of Jeff Anderson & Associates, an attorney for the plaintiff.