38 more people sue Syracuse Catholic Diocese, claiming abuse by priests


June 17, 2020

By Marnie Eisenstadt

Nearly 40 new lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, alleging child sex abuse by priests and a teacher.

The suits filed today alleged allegations of abuse that happened at the hands of priests in parishes across Central New York, spanning more than 50 years.

The lawsuits were filed under the New York State Child Victims Act, and join 40 suits already filed against the diocese under the act.

Four priests named in today’s filings are being sued by multiple people, according to lawyers from Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave, Wein & Frament, which together filed 32 suits. Lawyers from Marsh Law also filed six new cases. A spokeswoman for the Syracuse diocese has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The claims include:

— Monsignor Charles Eckermann, who was defrocked over allegations of child sex abuse in 2014 and died in 2016, was accused by four more people. The complaints of abuse span nearly 30 years: from 1958 to 1983. Eckermann was removed from the priesthood after the church deemed credible allegations that he molested an altar boy in Manlius.

— The Rev. Chester A. Misercola is named by three people, who alleged that he abused them when he was at Bishop Cunningham Catholic High School in Oswego. He worked there from 1970 to 1992, according to the firm. Misercola was removed from ministry in 2002 over allegations of child sex abuse. He died last year.

— The Rev. Edward C. Madore was named by three people in the new suits; he had already been accused by two others in suits previously filed, lawyers said. One of those suits alleges that Madore, who had worked at churches in Rome and Binghamton, abused an 8-year-old altar boy in 1976.

— The Rev. Bernard A. Garstka is named in three of the complaints. Two of the allegations of abuse come from his time at St. Patrick in Taberg, according to the lawsuits. Garstka died in 1982.

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