Sex Abuse Allegations Raised Against Eight Rochester Priests

An organization that helps people recover from sexual abuse is accusing eight priests who were either ordained or assigned to the Diocese of Rochester over the past 80 years with sexually abusing children while in their pastoral roles. The Diocese says it has no record of any charge against four of those priests.

Road to Recovery issued a news release naming the priests on its website and holding a news conference Tuesday outside the Flower City Cathedral.

A Boston attorney who has represented victims of sexual abuse by priests announced new allegations of abuse against eight men who worked as priests in the Rochester diocese going back to 1950.

 The 17 plaintiffs, now grown men, say the abuse occurred when they were boys -- and in some cases the abuse continued for years. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian is calling on the diocese to reveal all it knows about the abuse and the alleged coverup. He says all bishops by church law have a confidential file of such incidents.

The diocese has acknowledged abuse by three of the priests before. 

Of the five new names, one priest still works for the Church -- as a parish administrator in Tioga County. Several of the priests are dead. 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester says it has previously recognized that three of the priests named today were removed from ministry for sexual abuse of a minor: Fathers Eugene Emo, David Simon and Francis Vogt.

But the diocese says it has never received a complaint against four of the other five men named as abusers today by the Garabedian Law Firm and the group Road to Recovery. It says one priest was accused but the accusation was found to be unsubstantiated.

The Diocese says it has no records of Fathers Stuart Hogan, Charles McCarthy or Richard Orlando ever being accused. All three retired years ago and are now deceased. The diocese says it has no complaints on file against Gary Shaw, who resigned from the priesthood in 1977 and was given a dispensation to leave holy orders. An allegation against Father Thomas Valenti was investigated and dismissed by the diocese.

The diocese says in a statement that it treats all complaints of sexual abuse by priests seriously, and has retained retired Appellate Division Justice Robert Lunn to review, assess and resolve any such claims against its priests. The diocese says Lunn -- who is a partner in the Trevett-Christo law firm -- has authority to review and evaluate the evidence in each case and make a final decision. He acts independently of the church, and the diocese says his decision is final.


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