Woman Says Priest Has Harassed Her
Lawyer Amends Suit to Show New Accusation against Broome County Pastor

By Renee K. Gadoua
Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)
April 18, 2003

A Central New York woman who last month accused two Syracuse Catholic Diocese priests of sexually abusing her in the 1980s says one of the priests has been harassing her.

Albany lawyer John Aretakis filed an amended lawsuit Thursday that accuses the Rev. Thomas F. Keating, pastor of Most Holy Rosary Church, Maine, Broome County, of making threatening phone calls and damaging his client's reputation.

The amendment, filed in the Onondaga County Clerk's Office, also alleges that Keating "engaged in improper sexual contact with other women and female minors."

The additional accusations come after Aretakis filed a suit March 20 that accused the diocese, its bishops, Keating and Monsignor John M. Zeder of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by conspiring to conceal criminal sexual conduct by the priests.

Syracuse lawyer Emil Rossi, who is representing Keating, said his client "flatly denies" all the allegations.

He said he had not received the original lawsuit involving Keating or Zeder. He said Aretakis did not contact him or Keating about the amended suit.

Danielle Cummings said the diocese received a copy of the lawsuit Thursday and forwarded it to Paul Hanrahan of Hancock & Estabrook, the firm that is representing the diocese.

After Hanrahan reviews the lawsuit, the diocese will refer the case to the diocesan review board, Cummings said.

Keating, 63, remains pastor at the Maine church, she said.

Cummings confirmed the diocese removed Zeder, 77, from ministry in July after receiving an allegation he had raped a minor female when he was serving as pastor of St. Mary Church, Cortland, between 1978 and 1981.

According to the lawsuit, Keating sexually assaulted the woman, identified as Jane Doe, "in or about 1982," after the woman confided in him that Zeder had earlier raped her.

Aretakis said the amended lawsuit was not timed to coincide with Holy Week, which is considered the most sacred week in the Christian calendar. He said he filed the paperwork because he was nearing the end of the 30 days in which he could amend the suit.

"We are appalled counsel would choose one of the holiest days to both Christians and Jews to seek media headlines," Cummings said in a prepared statement. "On this Holy Thursday when Christ washed the feet of his disciples as a sign of humility, may we all follow his example."


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