Accused Uws Priest Hit by 4 More Sex Abuse Claims, Still Has Job
By Gus Saltonstall
July 30, 2020
UPPER WEST SIDE, NY — Four new Child Victims Act lawsuits were filed Wednesday against Upper West Side priest Monsignor John Paddack. The lawsuits also name the Archdiocese of New York, under the leadership of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, as a defendant.
The latest accusations follow seven lawsuits already filed against Paddack, who has continued in his position at Church of Notre Dame at 405 West 114th Street on the Upper West Side.
"These lawsuits demonstrate Paddack's pattern of predation: in each instance, exploiting his clerical power to abuse children," said attorney Jeff Anderson, who filed six of the seven previous lawsuits naming Paddack as a perpetrator.
Paddack has worked since 2011 at the Church of Notre Dame. He stepped down from publicly performing priestly duties in July 2019 after multiple people came forward with sexual abuse allegations against him.
But he is the pastor of the Church of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York confirmed Wednesday to news site THE CITY.
He stopped performing priestly duties "for the good of you parishioners, the parish, and the church" while the accusations against him are reviewed, Paddack wrote in a letter to his congregation.
"Because of certain procedures that must be followed under Canon Law, yes, he technically remains the pastor of the parish," an archdiocesan spokesperson told THE CITY. "He has stepped away from exercising his priestly ministry, but he has not thus far resigned as a pastor."
The four new complaints filed Wednesday against Paddack span 16 years:
One complaint alleges abuse at Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island from 2002 to 2003, when the plaintiff was 14 to 15 years old.
One complaint alleges abuse at Incarnation in New York from 1995 to 1997, when the plaintiff was approximately 13 to 14 years old.
One complaint alleges abuse at Incarnation and Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx from 1990 to 1993, when the plaintiff was 13 to 16 years old.
One complaint alleges abuse at Incarnation from 1987 to 1990, when the plaintiff was 11 to 14 years old.
The first child sexual abuse complaint filed against Paddack was filed in 2012.
"By allowing Paddack to continue to function as a priest, Cardinal Dolan is choosing the protection of predators over the protection of children in his flock," Anderson said in a news release.
Paddack stepped down in 2019 from his position on the Upper West Side church two weeks after Joe Caramanno spoke publicly for the first time about allegations of abuse by Paddack.
The priest denied the allegations in the letter, writing: "In the past, I cooperated with the investigation into these allegations, which included the District Attorney's office, outside forensic investigators, and a thorough examination by the archdiocesan lay review board; at the conclusion of all this, I was exonerated and returned to ministry."
Rafael Mendoza also went public with abuse allegations against Paddack in March 2019, claiming that the priest molested him as a student at Cardinal Hayes High School in the 1990s.
"He took advantage of me when I was at my weakest point," Mendoza said. "I believe he should be removed. I don't know if he is still [abusing] anyone else or any kids out there."
Mendoza said Paddack abused him in 1996 during his freshman year at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx when he was 14 years old. Mendoza was new to the school and said he was abusing pills and was suicidal when he reached out to Paddack, the school's counselor, for help.
After opening up to Paddack during their first session, Mendoza returned for future sessions where the priest's conduct grew increasingly abusive, he said.
Paddack is still referred to as the pastor on the Church of Notre Dame's website.
In the beginning of July, a spokesperson for the archdiocese told THE CITY that "Monsignor Paddack has not been reinstated to active ministry, either at Notre Dame or elsewhere. His case is still in process."
However, in a June weekly bulletin from the Church of Notre Dame, the bulletin message ended with, "Thank you and God bless, Msgr. Paddack," according to THE CITY.