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  $ 50 Million Suit Filed against N.Y. Archdiocese; Priest Pedophile Daniel A. Calabrese

National Catholic Reporter
March 5, 1993

NEW YORK — Attorneys for a 16-year-old boy recently filed a $ 50 million lawsuit against Father Daniel A. Calabrese and the New York archdiocese.

Calabrese, 32, formerly of a parish in Poughkeepsie, pleaded guilty July 22 to having sodomized the teenager in the rectory last March after getting him drunk.

In October the priest was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years' probation. He was also ordered to spend at least a year at a rehabilitation center for sex offenders, told to perform 1,000 hours community service with the elderly and AIDS patients and to write an apology to the teenage victim.

Since his arrest last March, allegations have emerged that the young priest had been caught in 1989 showing pornographic films to and drinking beer with teenage boys while at a parish in Congers, N.Y., his first parish assignment following his 1987 ordination.

Duchess County District Attorney William V. Grady has stated that, at the time of the parental complaints, a Congers pastor, whom he did not name, dissuaded the parents from filing formal complaints and assured them Calabrese would be moved from the parish and kept away from teenagers.

In an Oct. 8 letter to O'Connor, Grady upbraided the archdiocese for it's handling of the Congers incidents and its reassignment of Calabrese, first to Blessed Sacrament on Staten Island and in 1991 to the Poughkeepsie parish.

Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for Cardinal O'Connor, told NCR he could not comment on the case or on the future not Calabrese in the archdiocese while the suit is pending. He said the matter was in the hands of civil and canon lawyers.

Monsignor Edward D. O'Donnell, archdiocesan director of priest personnel, told Catholic New York in October that he could not comment on the earlier allegations but added that the archdiocese was not "rejecting the substance of the district attorney's criticism."

However, in papers filed last month in state Supreme Court in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the archdiocese denied any knowledge of Calabrese's past conduct and claimed the youth "willingly consented to and participated in the (sex) act."

O'Connor also said last week that a task force of psychiatrists, psychologists, lawyers and others skilled in working with victims of sexual abuse has been established to advise the archdiocese on the behavioral problems of priests.

 
 

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