Number of Alleged Victims Doubles in Rochester Diocese Child Sex Abuse Scandal
June 15, 2018
A local priest has taken a leave of absence from his position following accusations of abusing children in a local church.
The Diocese says Father Thomas Valenti, one of eight priests recently named by a high-profile attorney, is taking personal time following the accusation.
The Diocese confirms Valenti “asked to be relieved of his duties at this time. He remains a pastoral administrator.” Valenti -- along with Eugene Emo and David Simon -- was previously named as alleged sexual abusers of children.
The Diocese found the 2003 claims unsubstantiated and say no other claims were ever made against him.
Last week, attorney Mitchell Garabedian was in town to announce the names of eight Diocese of Rochester priests accused of sexually abusing children. Garabedian says he's been contacted by 17 victims in the last six months, two of them being women. Garabedian says the alleged abuse happened between 1950 and 1978 and that the victims were between 5 and 18 years old.
In the week since the allegations surfaced, the number of alleged victims has doubled to 33 according to Garabedian.
The attorney representing the victims also claims more priests have been named.
“I was a very innocent kid,” said Carol Dupre, who claims she was abused by Father George Hogan back in 1962 at age 15.
Decades later, the 71-year-old is relieved to finally share her story publicly.
“I feel like it’s going to bring about a completion of something that needs to be finished in my life,” said Dupre.
Dupre says her mother reported the incident to the Diocese but never heard back.
“She wrote a letter to the Diocese of Rochester, may have made phone calls, don’t know everything she did but I do know she was ignored,” said Duprey.
Duprey says another classmate claims her reports were also ignored following alleged abuse by Hogan in the early 60’s.
A decade ago Hogan attempted to reach the Diocese but claims she was told they had no reports for her or her classmate.
Hogan retired from the Diocese in 1965. The attorney on the case is demanding to know why.
“Why was he placed in retirement? Was it after these reports? Was it because of these reports?” Mitchell Garabedian qustioned.
The Diocese tells News10NBC “we encourage victims to come forward and participate in our process. That way we can investigate these matters, many of which happened decades ago.”
The Diocese confirms the church has paid $1.7-million to 20 child sex abuse victims since the 70’s.
The Diocese has also brought on an independent investigator and administrator to go through each claim and determine an appropriate compensation for victims.
The district attorney tells News10NBC thast she has not had any new complaints since 2012.
Victims of the clergy sexual abuse are encouraged to contact civil authorities. To receive any sort of help or guidance from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester contact Victim Assistance Coordinator Deborah Housel at (585) 328-3210 ext. 1555 or toll-free at 1-800-388-7177. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org