Church Shielded Abusive Priest, Man Says
By Nick Divito
Courthouse News Service
April 29, 2016
A New Yorker filed suit against a Catholic Church on Long Island that he says keeps his abuser in active ministry, despite mounting complaints.
Sean Kiefaber says he was between 5 and 7 years old from 2001 to 2003 when the Rev. Gregory Yacyshyn sexually molested him during after-school youth programs at the St. Francis of Assisi parish in Greenlawn, N.Y.
The Diocese of Rockville Center ordained Yacyshyn in 1998, and St. Francis is one of three parishes where Yacyshyn has worked over the years, according to the complaint, filed Monday in Nassau County Supreme Court.
Newsday quoted the diocese this week as saying it "intends to address the claims vigorously in a court of law."
Kiefaber's suit comes about three months after a woman named Kaitlyn Monghan brought similar claims against the Rockville Center diocese, the St. Francis parish and the Rev. Yacyshyn. The priest is not a defendant to Kiefaber's suit, however, which takes aim only at the parish and diocese.
Manhattan attorney Jeffrey Anderson represents both plaintiffs.
While Kiefaber's complaint does not get into the specifics of the alleged "assault," it says "the culture of the Catholic Church over plaintiff created pressure on plaintiff not to report Fr. Yacyshyn's sexual abuse on him."
Kiefaber notes that the diocese has let Yacyshyn "remain in active ministry," "with unrestricted access to children," though it's been three years since "another victim sexually abused by Fr. Yacyshyn contacted law enforcement to report her abuse."
These allegations came over a decade after a special grand jury with the Suffolk County Supreme Court "investigated child sexual abuse by the Diocese of Rockville Centre's priests," according to the complaint.
"Priests committed crimes against children of the diocese," the 2003 report found, as quoted in the complaint. "These crimes were treated as a matter of sin and never reported to law enforcement authorities."
A year after this report came out, the "Diocese of Rockville Centre publicly admitted that it knew of 66 priests who worked in the Diocese who had been accused of sexually molesting minors," the complaint continues.
Kiefaber says "the diocese has never publicly released those names."
The diocese also "has never publically admitted the veracity of the allegations against Fr. Yacyshyn, warned the public and/or conducted outreach to potential victims of his sexual abuse," according to the complaint.
In addition to alleging negligence, Kiefaber says the church's ongoing deception puts the public at risk.
He seeks punitive damages, plus an injunction that exposes "the names of all credibly accused child molesting clerics, each such cleric's history of abuse, each such cleric's pattern of grooming and sexual behavior, and each such cleric's last known address."
"This includes the release of names of all clerics accused of child molestation in Defendant Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Center at any point in time through present day," the complaint states. "This also includes the release of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre's documents relating to the accused clerics."