52 New Lawsuits Filed Against Diocese of Albany Under Child Victims Act Following Re-Opening of New York Civil Courts

Lawsuits Name Over 40 Clerics Accused of Child Sex Abuse within the Diocese

(Albany, NY) – Today, attorneys from the law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave Wein & Frament, on behalf of numerous courageous survivors, filed another 52 child sexual abuse complaints under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) against the Diocese of Albany. Following the COVID-19 court closures, these cases were stuck in limbo as the limited CVA window for survivors of child sexual abuse continued to count down. The firm has now filed a total of 74 lawsuits against the Diocese.

“Survivors in upstate New York are reclaiming the power that was stolen from them when they were children,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “We are grateful to walk with them on their journey toward healing.”

Among the complaints:

  • 20 clerics have been publicly identified for the first time. They include:
    • Father Edward F. English, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1962 to 1964 at St. George in Pittstown, NY
    • Father Charles A. Gaffigan, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1992 to 1994 at Holy Infancy in Lake Luzerne, NY
    • Sister Marionella Graham, C.S.J., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1961 to 1962 at St. Joseph in Green Island, NY
    • Sister Rosara Anne, C.S.J., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1963 to 1964 at St. Joseph in Green Island, NY
    • Sister Giovanna Marie, C.S.J., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1964 to 1965 at St. Joseph in Green Island, NY
    • Father Francis Hartigan, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1964 to 1969 at St. Ambrose in Latham, NY and St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, NY
    • Father Francis Husselbeck, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1982 to 1985 at St. Agnes-St. Patrick in Cohoes, NY
    • Father Andrew J. Lenahan, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1960 to 1963 at Holy Family in Stottville, NY
    • Sister Bernadette Marie, R.S.M., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1966 to 1967 at St. Teresa of Avila in Albany, NY
    • Sister Mercedes Graber, R.S.M., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1978 to 1981 at Mercy High School in Albany, NY
    • Father Gregory J. Mulhall, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1983 to 1984 at Church of the Annunciation in Ilion, NY
    • Sister Eileen Patrice, C.S.J., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1961 to 1962 at St. Joseph in Schenectady, NY
    • Father Guy Puglisi, accused of sexually abusing two minors at St. Teresa of Avila in Albany, NY, one in approximately 1974 to 1975 and the other in approximately 1976
    • Father John J. Rooney, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1973 to 1974 at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Albany, NY
    • Father Vincent J. Ciotoli, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1979 to 1983 at St. Patrick in Troy, NY
    • Father Ignatius Rossi, O.F.M., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1957 to 1960 at St. Anthony of Padua in Troy, NY
    • Father Anthony Sidoti, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1970 to 1971
    • Father Robert Taylor, accused of sexually abusing a minor in approximately 1981 at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Albany, NY
    • Father Bernard Turner, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1981 to 1982 at St. Patrick in Ravena, NY
    • Sister Barbara Wood, R.S.M., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1974 to 1978 at St. Patrick in Watervliet, NY
  • Three complaints name notorious offender Father Gary J. Mercure, who was sentenced to over 20 years in prison for his sexual abuse of children in 2011. Father Mercure is believed to be in prison in Massachusetts.
  • Two lawsuits allege abuse by Father Dozia Wilson from approximately 1982 to 1990. The Diocese of Albany learned about Father Wilson’s dangerous propensities as early as 1976, when the Diocese received a report that Father Wilson had sexually abused two minors. The Diocese of Albany quietly sent Father Wilson to the Archdiocese of Boston in 1976, where he faced additional complaints. After Father Wilson was expelled from the Archdiocese of Boston in 1979, the Diocese of Albany permitted Father Wilson to return to ministry within the Diocese of Albany, enabling him to access the two survivors who brought suit today. Father Wilson’s current whereabouts are unknown.
  • Two lawsuits are brought against the Diocese of Albany and the Diocese of Brooklyn, and allege abuse in the mid-1970s by prominent priest Father Guy Puglisi. Father Puglisi was the Vicar for Education and Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn prior to his death in 2003.

“In bringing suit today, it is paramount to these survivors that we protect our children of today and tomorrow,” said attorney Cynthia LaFave. “With the heroic resolve of these voices and their stories, we can imagine a future where justice—long overdue—can be had, and atrocities like those already endured are finally obsoleted from the narrative of the American childhood.”

Despite Governor Cuomo’s commendable executive order to extend the CVA deadline by five months and, more recently, New York legislators’ unanimous approval of a one-year extension it is best that survivors take action before the original CVA deadline of August 13, 2020 to take full advantage of their rights under the CVA.

“We are honored to stand with these courageous survivors in their pursuit of justice, truth, and accountability,” said attorney Taylor Stippel. “As of right now, survivors must bring suit before the CVA deadline of August 13. Although there should never be a time limit for survivors to share their stories, this deadline creates urgency and now is the time to take action in New York.”

Contact
Jeff Anderson: 646.499.3364 (c); 646.759.2551 (o)
Cynthia LaFave: 518.281.9494 (c); 518.869.9094 (o)
Taylor Stippel: 651.323.8832 (c), 646.759.2551 (o)

 

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