Diocese: Payouts in Ex-Priest's Abuse Case Grow to $1.6M

By Abbott Koloff
Daily Record
December 9, 2008

A seventh alleged victim of former Dover pastor Ronald Tully has received a settlement from the Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese, church officials acknowledged Tuesday.

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who represents the latest alleged victim, said his client, who now lives in Florida, was 14 years old and a student at Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic when Tully allegedly fondled him in 1977. At the time, Tully was an assistant principal at the school, which no longer exists, Garabedian said.

The diocese has now paid an estimated $1.6 million to Tully victims.

Garabedian said his client received the same settlement as four other Tully accusers he has represented, $225,000. Diocese officials acknowledged earlier this year that they had paid $1.4 million to six alleged victims.

"Yes, there is a settlement," diocese spokesman Rich Sokerka said on Tuesday about the latest alleged victim, adding that there would be no further comment.

Diocese officials previously said Tully is barred from working as a priest and had agreed last year to be defrocked. The case had been sent to church officials in Rome earlier this year. That process is continuing, Sokerka said, with diocese officials waiting to hear back from Rome.

Tully, who has been living near Buffalo, N.Y., did not immediately respond to a phone message. He denied any wrongdoing in a brief interview with the Daily Record last year. Since then, four additional accusers have come forward.

In 2004, Tully was removed from his job as pastor at Sacred Heart in Dover, where he worked for 20 years, when two men alleged that church officials reneged on a promise made to them decades ago.

They reported to police in 1979 that Tully abused them at his Long Island vacation home but said in court papers filed in 2004 that they agreed not to pursue criminal charges after Bishop Frank Rodimer, now retired, promised Tully no longer would work around children.

Earlier this year, two men who attended St. Rose of Lima Church in East Hanover as children said they were fondled by Tully at the priest's Long Island home in 1976.

Last year, a Massachusetts man alleged that as a child he had been sexually shared by Tully and a Boston priest in the 1980s, and had been sexually abused by Tully in the Dover rectory. Another man later alleged that Tully, his former neighbor in Passaic, had abused him more than 50 times starting when he was 8 years old in 1971.

Abbott Koloff can be reached at (973) 428-6636 or


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