Fallout Continues after Diocese Bombshell
By B. Rae Perryman
Oswego County News
December 5, 2018
|Father Francis J. Furfaro, pictured, served at St. Joseph’s for more than 40 years and is one of 11 Oswego priests named in a Diocese of Syracuse report on pedophile priests.|
After the names of 57 Diocesan clergy linked to child sex abuse were released Monday by Bishop Robert Cunningham, a Diocese of Syracuse spokesperson is denying that parishioner contributions are paying victim’s settlements directly and that the closing of churches in Oswego has “definitely no connection whatsoever” with the scandal.
There are now eleven alleged pedophile priests affiliated with Oswego County parishes.
Oswego priests implicated in credible allegations of child sexual abuse by the Diocese of Syracuse are: Paul A. Brigandi; Daniel W. Casey, Jr.; Francis J. Furfaro; John F. Harrold; James C. Hayes; William A. Lorenz; Chester Misercola; Thomas E. Neary, Jr.; Albert J. Proud; Edward G. Quaid and John M. Zeder.
Monsignors Quaid and Brigandi join the ranks of nine others mentioned identified Tuesday by The Palladium-Times as implicated in a clergy sex abuse lawsuit.
Brigandi succeeded Furfaro as the spiritual leader of St. Joseph’s Church in Oswego and Quaid was the pastor of St. Mary’s in Oswego from 1935 to 1964.
St. Mary’s parishioners reported Tuesday that Quaid’s picture had been removed from the rectory but Quaid remains a lauded figure in St. Mary’s history. The church’s public records note his “outstanding qualities of priestly devotion” were recognized by Pope Pius XII on April 20, 1952 and he was elevated to the rank of Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor,” the record says.
The release of the 57 names is another in a long line of faith-shaking events that have pained local Catholics.
“They have given up nothing,” said Oswego’s Sue Sweet. “They are still hiding the magnitude of abuse reports for the last 60 years. They are responsible for the devastation we see in the Catholic Church today, including the closing of churches locally and Diocesan wide.”
Diocesan spokesperson Danielle Cummings strongly denied Sweet’s assertion and said the June decision to consolidate all Oswego parishes is not connected to financial payouts awarded to victims through the Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse (IRCP).
“There’s definitely no connection to that whatsoever,” said Cummings of the link between victim settlements and the church’s precarious financial situation in Oswego. “Any entity needs to have insurance. That’s an expense that’s going to always exist. It doesn’t matter if we had an IRCP program or not, they would have to pay that expense. In no way, shape, or form does that relate in Oswego to the talk of coming together as one faith community.”
Cummings says the victims’ payments come out of a “Diocesan self-insurance program,” which she likened to common insurance companies and that these payments are not extracted from “normal parish contributions that are outside of [the Church’s] expenses.”
“Everything that the church does is paid for out of church funds but my point is they would have to pay that expense anyway,” said Cummings. “This is a liability. And this liability is being paid for through the insurance.”
Sweet said that her work with other victim advocates has uncovered more names than Bishop Cunningham released Monday.
“They are taking us all for fools,” she said.
Cummings said feelings like Sweet’s were “reasonable.”
“[Bishop Cunningham] said that he’s as angry and upset and frustrated as the people in the pews. There were situations where law enforcement knew of cases on this list and also didn’t act because there wasn’t an understanding of what we were talking about,” she said. “We can’t look at this in a vacuum, and we certainly can say the church didn’t handle this well at all. We now know it’s a crime. We now know this has a devastating affect on people that have been abused, and we’re taking measures to change things.”