By Bart Jones
April 27, 2018
Eight men who were members of a popular youth folk group at a Catholic church in St. James in the 1970s have filed reports with the Suffolk County district attorney saying they were sexually abused as boys by the charismatic priest who ran the group.
The men filed the accusations as part of the second phase of a program established by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to compensate clergy sex-abuse victims, according to Manhattan-based attorney Michael Reck, who is representing them.
Phase Two of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program is for people who never previously filed complaints with the diocese or law enforcement agencies.
All eight were members of the PJ Folksingers group at Saints Philip and James Roman Catholic Church. They allege the Rev. Peter Charland, who died in 2004 at 58, abused them as the group soared in popularity, packing churches, cutting an album and even going on a three-week tour of Romania.
The folk group grew from about 10 members to 160 in just three years, according to people who belonged to it.
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