New sex abuse and ‘grooming’ allegations target former Staten Island priest

Staten Island Avance

January 2, 2021

By Kyle Lawson

Former priest Ralph LaBelle has again been accused of sexually abusing a young male parishioner on Staten Island.

According to a civil complaint filed last week in Richmond County state Supreme Court, St. George, the victim was “groomed” and sexually abused between the ages of 13 and 16-years-old.

At the time, LaBelle was assigned to St. Clare’s R.C. Church in Great Kills. He was there from 1979 to 1985.

The plaintiff, Donald O’Brien, is seeking damages from the Archdiocese of New York and St. Clare’s for “severe and permanent” injuries that have included “pain, suffering, emotional trauma and humiliation.”

LaBelle already was included on a list of clergy credibly accused of abuse unveiled in April 2019 by the Archdiocese of New York. He was laicized in 2005, after several victims had come forward.

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