Archdiocese pays 3 local men $250K each after priest-abuse claims
By Paul Brooks
December 10, 2017
KINGSTON – Three Hudson Valley men abused by a Catholic priest decades ago will receive $250,000 each in compensation from the New York Archdiocese, according to their Kingston lawyer.
Joe O’Connor of Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor confirmed the payouts Friday.
The money from the Archdiocese was authorized after a review of the claims the three men filed with the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.
The Archdiocese has paid out more than $40 million under the program, it said in a report released Thursday.
The claims of the three local men outlined details of the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Gennaro “Jerry” Gentile, a priest who spent time in nine different parishes in the Hudson Valley between 1970 and 2002, according to church records.
The three men filed their claims with the IRCP in October, then told their stories to the program’s two-person staff, who had authority to evaluate the claims and determine what to pay victims.
Victims had to waive their right to otherwise sue the Archdiocese, but could speak freely of their abuse.
The law firm’s Michael Kolb played a major role in assisting the victims, O’Connor said.
Two of the victims he represents have declined to discuss their abuse publicly. One is still considering that step, O’Connor said.
Gentile abused them while he was at the Holy Name of Mary church in Croton-On-Hudson. He was a pastor there from April 1987 to 2000, church records show. Their families were parishoners at the church, O’Connor said.
The three were between the ages of 9 and 15 at the time, and the abuse by Gentile went on for at least six years in all three cases, O’Connor said.
The victims said that Gentile had pornographic materials in the rectory at Holy Name, according to O’Connor.
Gentile also took the boys on trips to his camp on a lake in the Saratoga area, O’Connor said.
In a 1997 lawsuit, Gentile was accused of sexually abusing two boys in one family in the early 1990s. Some of the abuse alleged in that case took place at Gentile’s lake camp.
Gentile would give boys massages that progressed to touching the genitals in at least one case, according to reports of the lawsuit cited by the website bishopaccountability.org.
Reports of complaints about Gentile’s behavior date back to 1971, yet the Archdiocese continued to move him from parish to parish.
He came to St. Mary’s Church in Marlboro in June 1982 and served there until November 1983.
During that time, he developed programs for teens and took some of the children to his camp in the Saratoga area. No complaints of sex abuse involving St. Mary’s have surfaced.
Gentile also spent time at parishes in Wappingers Falls, Poughkeepsie, Hopewell Junction, Gardiner, Tuckahoe and Yonkers in the Hudson Valley.
He was removed from active service in 2002. The Archdiocese said he was defrocked in 2005. He could not be located for comment Friday.
Reconciliation and compensation program administrator Camille Biros said the program will not disclose how many victims of Gentile have come forward.
The program has provided two opportunities for victims to file claims. In the first round, there were 147 claims, with payment made in 136 instances.
In the second round, the program has received 158 claims, reviewed 76 as of Friday and paid claims in 53 cases.
The remaining claims have yet to be reviewed or paid. No additional rounds are planned at this point, Biros said.
Gentile’s three victims who were paid with the aid of the Kingston firm did not reveal they had been abused until prosecutors from Westchester County approached them, O’Connor said.
“They did not want anyone to know. They never got help,” he said. “It weighs on them.”