Lawsuit says Catholic priest sexually abused Long Island man
By Bart Jones
April 26, 2016
A Long Island man said Tuesday he was sexually abused as a boy by a Roman Catholic priest — the second case brought against the priest since last year.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which has not removed the Rev. Gregory Yacyshyn from active ministry, said it “intends to address the claims vigorously in a court of law.”
The first case last year was filed by a 20-year-old woman, and still is being litigated. The diocese at the time called that sex abuse claim unfounded and said it was an “unfortunate publicity stunt.”
The new case, filed Monday in State Supreme Court in Nassau County, claims that Yacyshyn abused the boy from the ages of 5 to 7 during 2001 through 2003, when Yacyshyn was assigned to the St. Francis of Assisi parish in Greenlawn.
John Michael Reck, an attorney for the accuser, said the priest sexually abused the boy on church property during multiple occasions. Reck said some of the abuse occurred when the boy was at the church for religion class or confession.
The accuser, whom Newsday is not naming because of the nature of the claims, now is 20 years old and decided to come forward after hearing about the first case and seeing Yacyshyn was not removed from ministry, Reck said.
Yacyshyn currently is assigned to St. Jude parish in Mastic Beach.
He was not removed from ministry after the first allegation because it was not considered credible, said Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the diocese. He noted that the Suffolk County Police Department also did not find the allegation to be credible.
The diocese follows the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Dolan said. The charter was adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after the church sex abuse scandal broke in Boston in early 2002.
Under that charter, also dubbed “zero tolerance,” if a credible allegation is made against a priest he is immediately taken out of ministry until the case is resolved, Dolan said.
“That was not the case” with the first allegation because it was not considered credible, Dolan said.
The latest lawsuit claims that the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which is named as a defendant, failed to protect the boy from the priest. The lawsuit does not name the priest as a defendant, the diocese noted.
Reck said he still is studying whether the priest can be named as a defendant because of statute of limitation laws.
St. Francis of Assisi parish also is named as a defendant.