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  Rochester Diocese Provided Home for Priest Accused of Molestation, Woman Contends

Associated Press State & Local Wire
June 1, 2002

A woman who settled a lawsuit accusing a priest in the Syracuse diocese of molesting her sons called on Bishop Matthew Clark to resign for giving him "refuge" in the Rochester diocese.

A spokesman for the bishop dismissed the allegations as "baseless."

Marianne Barone Trent said her family accepted $150,000 and a one-sentence apology from the Syracuse diocese in August 1998 in exchange for dropping a lawsuit accusing the Rev. Daniel Casey of molesting her sons, aged 10 and 11, in Oswego in 1987.

Casey moved here in the early 1990s, lived at a rectory and taught religious classes in parishes in the Rochester diocese, Barone Trent alleged Saturday at a news conference on the steps of Sacred Heart Cathedral, the bishop's seat. Casey died in 2000 at age 52.

"He had previously been charged with molesting numerous children in Oswego and had a long history of being transferred to different parishes," Barone Trent said. "How many more children were endangered, or even molested, because this compulsive sex abuser was protected?"

Casey resigned from the Syracuse diocese in 1991 and, in September that year, Bishop Clark "discovered he was living at St. Monica's rectory and immediately asked him to leave," said Rochester diocesan spokesman Michael Tedesco.

"He did not come here at the invitation of this diocese and I have no knowledge of him teaching religous classes here," Tedesco said. "To allege Bishop Clark gave him refuge is baseless."

The diocese also said the bishop had no intention of resigning, calling him "one of the leading advocates for victims of sexual abuse by clergy."

"Bishop Clark's longstanding policy has been that no priest against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a child are made can continue in parochial ministry," it said in a statement.

A month ago, Clark revealed that three priests suspected of sexually abusing teen-age children more than 20 years ago have been banished from the pulpit.

The pastors, two serving in suburban Rochester and one near Elmira, resigned at the bishop's request and were placed on indefinite administrative leave. In addition, two other priests disciplined in the 1990s were dismissed from clerical jobs in the western New York diocese.

Abuse victims had called the diocese with concerns that those priests were still in active ministry.

The 12-county Rochester diocese, which serves 338,000 Catholics, has about 140 active diocesan priests, plus 95 other priests who are retired, disabled or temporarily serving outside the diocese.

 
 

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