"Wow Do I Miss You!!!" Priest Wrote "Questionable" Letters of Support to Jailed Former Church Volunteer Who Sexually Abused Young Boys in Case That Cost the Diocese of Brooklyn $27.5 Million
By Charlotte Dean
September 20, 2018
|Reverend Father Frank Shannon (pictured) told convicted pedophile Angelo Serrano, 67, that he 'missed hanging out with him'|
A priest wrote friendly and supportive letters to a former church volunteer who sexually abused young boys in case that cost the Diocese of Brooklyn $27.5 million.
Reverend Father Frank Shannon told Angelo Serrano, 67, that he 'missed hanging out with him' in letters that lawyer Ben Rubinowitz, who represented the victims, referred to as questionable.
After it was revealed in court that Shannon had also been to visit Serrano in prison, Mr Rubinowitz said: 'He was visiting the pedophile. There are a lot of questions there', reports Ny Daily News.
Shannon, 51, was a co-defendant in two lawsuits alleging that he and another priest and church workers bore responsibility for Serrano's actions since he was involved in parish activities when it took place which saw Serrano jailed for 15 years for abusing young boys at St. Lucy's-St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
The judge agreed that clear signs that Serrano was abusing children were ignored by parish workers and priests employed by St. Lucy's-St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
The church made financial settlements in respect of the priests before the end of the court proceedings meaning this aspect was left unresolved.
Serrano was arrested in 2009 and plead guilty to inappropriate course of sexual conduct with a child two years later, however has he began his jail term Shannon stayed in touch.
|The judge agreed that clear signs that Serrano (pictured) was abusing children were ignored by parish workers and priests employed by St. Lucy's-St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn|
In one letter, which was read out in a lawsuit over Serrano's abuse, Shannon wrote: 'Ang, I miss hanging out with you and working with you. I keep dreaming that we'll have it again. Have a peaceful and blessed Christmas amigo. Love, Paco,'
Another of his correspondence to Serrano, Shannon wrote: 'WOW do I miss you!!!!'
Shannon continued the letter by telling Serrano that he had sent their camp to the beach today, adding that he was 'great' on all those 'TRIPS'.
He told the convicted pedophile that he was a 'wonderful support and friend', and he will 'never' forget that.
|The diocese (offices seen above) agreed to the pay each unidentified victims $6,875,000|
However Shannon said in court that to him the letters, written mainly between 2011 and 2013, were like 'poetry' to show a kind of friendship and 'not literally true'.
During the deposition he claimed that in reality he did not miss hanging out with Serrano, but did still visit him at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, New York.
It was also documented in the letters that the priest sent Serrano $100 money order to be used at the prison commissary.
|Serrano had been working as a religion teacher for St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Church (seen above) in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn at the time he abused his young male students. The church has since been shut down|
Shannon and his successor at the now closed down church, Rev. Stephen Lynch, were aware that young boys stayed the night at Serrano's home prior to his arrest, a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge wrote.
Another of the victims' lawyers said: 'They both dropped the ball and failed to recognize the signs of abuse and follow the policies.
Shannon testified that young boys were sometimes at Serrano's home when he visited his home.
|Lwyer Ben Rubinowitz, who represented the victims, referred to Shannon's letters as questionable |
Asked in the deposition if he'd thought of the boys abused by Serrano while writing the fawning letters, Shannon replied 'no.'
'I was still confused,' Shannon said.
The settlement money will be paid in part by an after-school center affiliated with the church and divided evenly among four boys who were between the ages of 8 and 12 when the abuse occurred.
Kings County Supreme Court Justice Loren Baily-Schiffman wrote in a court statement: 'The record is clear that Lynch and Shannon, had knowledge for years that Serrano often had several boys, including plaintiff, sleep over at his apartment.'
One of the priests testified that he witnessed Serrano kiss and inappropriately touch a young boy, according to The New York Times.
Church secretary Beatrice Ponnelle also testified that she saw male students sit on Serrano's lap while working on homework at times.
The diocese said in a statement that its administration and 'another defendant have [agreed to settle] these lawsuits brought by the four claimants.' The statement went on to say that another defendant would contribute 'a significant portion' of the money.
President of BishopAccountability.org, Terry McKiernan, told The Times the settlement figure is astounding and speaks volumes about the cruelty of the case.
'This is an extremely large settlement,' McKiernan said.
'The size of the settlement has to be an indication of the severity of the abuse and also of the pressure that the Catholic Church is under.'
Bishop Accountability reportedly keeps track of sex abuse cases within the Roman Catholic Church.
An attorney for one of the victims, Ben Rubinowitz, also said: 'The egregious nature of the conduct is the reason that the church paid what they did.
'These were boys who were abused in second grade through sixth grade, for years for some of them.'