Former priest in Dansville, Avon named in new child sex abuse lawsuits
By Matt Leader
February 26, 2020
A former Catholic priest who served at churches in Avon and Dansville in the 1980s is named as a defendant in two Child Victims Act lawsuits, filed earlier this month in Livingston County Supreme Court.
Joseph Edward Larrabee, who was ordained in 1980, is accused of sexually abusing two teenagers at least 19 times between 1982 and 1984 by exploiting his position as a priest at St. Agnes Church in Avon.
Larrabee could not be reached for comment. The former priest’s accusers, now in their 50s, brought their civil suits Feb. 4. They’re both represented by Simmons Hanly Conroy, a national firm with offices across the country, and the Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston firm that’s represented victims of the Catholic Church for decades. Larrabee’s accusers are both demanding jury trials.
Larrabee was first identified as a potential child sex abuser in 2002, when he was included on the Rochester Diocese’s list of clergy who have been credibly accused of such conduct, according to reporting from Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle.
In August 2019, Larrabee was named in three civil suits for having “unpermitted sexual contact” with minors, the D&C reported.
In one of the civil suits filed earlier this month, Larrabee is accused of sexually abusing a minor parishioner of St. Agnes Church about seven times in 1982 and 1983. According to the suit, Larrabee lured his minor victim to the St. Agnes Rectory and to a friend’s lake house for a sleepover.
“Father Larrabee used such encounters… to sexually assault, sexually abuse, and/or have sexual contact with Plaintiff on approximately seven occasions,” reads a portion of the civil suit.
In the other filing, Larrabee is accused of similar conduct involving a then teenaged altar boy at St. Agnes. The conduct is alleged to have occurred from 1982 to 1984, when Larrabee’s victim was between 14 and 16 years old. As in the previous suit, Larrabee is accused of luring the teenager to the St. Agnes Rectory and then sexually abusing him. Larrabee is accused of having illegal sexual contact with his victim “on at least 12 occasions,” according to court documents.
In addition to Larrabee himself, both suits name as defendants St. Agnes Church; the Saint Agnes, Paul and Rose Catholic Parish; St. Mary’s Church of Dansville; and the Holy Family Catholic Community, a religious corporation based in Wayland, Steuben County.
The Roman Catholic Bishop and Vicar General of Rochester is accused in the two civil suits of concealing information about the danger Larrabee posed to children. St. Mary’s is accused of aiding and abetting the Bishop of Rochester in this effort to conceal information.
According to the recent filings against him, Larrabee lives in Saratoga County.