Court Rules That Abuse Survivor’s Public Nuisance Claims Against Diocese of Rockville Centre May Proceed

Ruling Will Help Protect Children, Expose Diocese’s Protection of Abusive Priests, and Scrutinize Decisions Regarding Allegedly Abusive Priests

(Garden City, NY) – 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.