Honeoye Falls Priest Bounced from Church to Church in 5 Counties
By Jane Flasch
WHAM 13 ABC
January 8, 2020
Honeoye Falls, N.Y. - A priest in the Rochester Diocese was bounced from church to church in an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse, says a new lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act.
It is the first lawsuit to name Rev. Otto Vogt. It alleges the abuse happened 30 years ago at St. Paul of the Cross Church in Honeoye Falls.
John McHugh says he was 10-years-old in 1989 when he was singled out by Vogt.
"He ingratiated himself into the family, became friends with the family, went to the family home," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston. He has filed hundreds of suits on behalf of victims of clergy abuse.
In this one, he contends Vogt sexually assaulted and abused the child in the office and the rectory over a four-year period. The abuse is alleged to have occurred on "over 60 occasions."
Vogt would later retire from that parish. Yet from 1951 to 1955, he was moved around eight different churches in five different counties. Garabedian said Vogt was assigned to some of the parishes more than once, and at others he served only about a year.
The lawsuit accuses church leaders of concealing information that Vogt "posed a danger" to children.
"They got him out of Dodge. They just shipped him to the next church," Garabedian said. "Where were the bishops? Why weren't they protecting innocent children?"
The Diocese of Rochester does not respond to specific lawsuits. It filed for bankruptcy late last year, so those claims will now be decided by a bankruptcy court.
Vogt died in 2017. Garabedian said another alleged victim has come forward in an unrelated case, which might result in an additional lawsuit.
For decades, McHugh has lived in silence. His attorney said that ends now.
"He wants to be able to show the world he's now taking a step forward, towards trying to heal," Garabedian said. "He's now realizing this wasn't his fault."