Cva: Five Priests from Rochester Diocese Alleged to Have Abused 105 Victims
By Jane Flasch
August 4, 2020
Rochester, N.Y. - Serial predators inside the Catholic Church: At least 245 lawsuits filed under the Crime Victims Act name the Rochester Catholic Diocese. Taken together, they allege a stunning abuse of power - some of it involving only a handful of priests.
Five of them have been accused by a combined 105 victims.
"These people hurt you. You don't forget that," said a man who asked to be identified only by his initials: J.O.
For him, the abuse began in 1973 when he was living in what as then an orphanage run by the Rochester Diocese.
After filing a CVA lawsuit, he met dozens of others with similar claims.
"It's almost like a fraternity. We really care about what happened - not only to us but to the other kids," J.O. said.
Four victims say that while attending St. Bridget/Immaculate Conception as children, they were sexually abused by Rev. Francis Vogt. Over 45 years, Vogt also served in parishes in Elmira, Palmyra and Irondeqouit.
The four CVA suits are new - filed in the last three days. They bring the total number of victims alleging abuse at the hands of Vogt to 46. The youngest was just six years old at the time.
Next up is Rev. Robert O'Neill. News accounts reported by 13 WHAM decades ago reveal two bishops were aware of "credible abuse complaints" against him - yet he was allowed to serve the church until his retirement.
He is facing 24 lawsuits - by 24 different victims.
In 1996, Rev. Eugene Emo was arrested for abusing a mentally-challenged adult male. He served six months in prison. The diocese acknowledged that before his arrest, he took a leave of absence for almost a year for "a personal problem."
At least 12 CVA suits name him.
Rev. Joseph Larrabee and Rev. Paul Cloonan round out the top five.
Because the Rochester Diocese filed for bankruptcy the CVA cases will be settled by a bankruptcy judge. He has set next Thursday as the deadline for any new filings naming the Rochester Diocese.
The window for other CVA lawsuits has been extended another year to August 13, 2021.