46 New Lawsuits Filed Against Diocese of Brooklyn Under NY Child Victims Act Following Re-Opening of New York Civil Courts

Lawsuits Name Over 30 Child Sex Abusers within the Clerical Ranks of the Diocese

(New York, NY) – Today, attorneys from the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates, on behalf of numerous courageous survivors, filed 46 child sexual abuse complaints under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) against the Diocese of Brooklyn. 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 countdown. The firm has now filed a total of 90 lawsuits against the Diocese.

“So many survivors now can come forward and their voices are a chorus of unspoken truth,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “We are grateful to stand with each in this time of reckoning.”

Among the complaints:

  • Six (6) priests were accused of child sexual abuse publicly identified for the first time, including two whose whereabouts are unknown. They include:
    • Father John Cooper, C.S.Sp., deceased
    • Father Thomas Graham, deceased
    • Father Bernard McBride, deceased
    • Father Thomas McGee, deceased
    • Father Ronald Schulz
    • Father William P. Smith
  • A second lawsuit has been filed implicating Father Patrick Fursey O’Toole for his sexual abuse of boys at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
  • Two (2) complaints name notorious offender Father Romano Ferraro, who was sentenced to life in prison for his sexual abuse of children in 2004. Fr. Ferraro is believed to be in prison in Massachusetts.
  • Four(4) complaints name offender Father James Russo, whose abuse of boys led to his removal from the priesthood in 2016.
  • Two (2) complaints allege abuse by Father Robert McConnin, a decade apart. Father McConnin was removed from the priesthood in 2015 and his current whereabouts are unknown.

“These suits demonstrate long-standing abuse in the Diocese of Brooklyn by multiple priest-offenders who were given unfettered access to children for decades,” said attorney Trusha Goffe.

Despite Governor Cuomo’s recent and commendable executive order to extend the CVA deadline by five months, it is best that survivors take action before the initial deadline of August 13, 2020 to take full advantage of their rights under the CVA.

“We are honored to work with the courageous survivors who have chosen to bring suit today,” said Goffe. “Less than three months remain until the CVA deadline of August 13. For those out there who are thinking about coming forward, there is urgency to this.”