Lawsuit Claims Former Priest Sexually Abused Minor at St. Mary’s in Dansville
By Matt Leader
Livingston County News
August 28, 2020
DANSVILLE – A new lawsuit details acts of sexual assault and rape former Catholic priest Eugene Emo is accused of perpetrating against a child at St. Mary’s Church in the late 1960s.
Emo’s victim, who is identified in court records only as “SWRO 1 Doe,” was 17 years old in 1968 when he told Emo during confession that he had been sexually abused by some “neighborhood boys.” Emo told Doe to go up to his bedroom in the church rectory so the two could “pray together in peace.” Once there, Emo instructed Doe to touch him sexually.
The abuse continued in this manner for a period of about four months, according to court documents. One time, Emo raped Doe in his rectory bedroom. Another time, Doe was attending a wedding at St. Mary’s when Emo took him into the vestibule and told Doe to perform oral sex on him, according to court documents.
As a result of Emo’s abuse, Doe claims he’s suffered from depression, addiction, vivid nightmares, frequent and uncontrollable bouts of crying and has tried to kill himself three times.
Doe’s lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Livingston County Supreme Court, is the latest in a string of such filings to accuse Emo of sexually abusing children at St. Marys, where Emo served as assistant pastor from 1968 to 1973. Emo is also facing lawsuits accusing him of sexually abusing children at churches in Hornell, Rochester and Irondequoit.
According to reporting from Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle, Emo was arrested in 1996 for molesting a developmentally disabled man and sentenced to six months in jail.
The Diocese of Rochester placed Emo on leave after his arrest and later removed him from the priesthood, according to the D&C.
To read past D&C coverage of the allegations against Emo from his time as an assistant pastor at St. Mary’s in Dansville, click here.
During a deposition in March, conducted as part of the Diocese of Rochester’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, former Bishop Matthew Clark said Emo admitted to him that he had “acted inappropriately with minors.” After this revelation, Clark, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, said he sent Emo away for months of treatment at a rehabilitation institution.
After the treatment, Clark said he assigned Emo to a parish in Livingston County where Emo would have access to children. This is in contrast to the way Clark said he handled the case of Robert O’Neill, another priest accused of sexually abusing children. After O’Neill attended a rehabilitation clinic, Clark said he assigned O’Neill to an administrative post where he would not be in contact with children.
Asked why he didn’t do the same with Emo, Clark said the two priests were “very different people.”
“It was not a cookie-cutter sort of thing,” Clark continued. “We tried to consider the factors as best we could with the same format of review, after they had their rather intensive, months-long treatment with… these rehabilitation institutions.”
Emo lives in Florida, according to court documents. He could not be reached for comment.