Diocese of Manchester bishop accused in lawsuit of sexually abusing minor

WMUR-TV, ABC-9 [Manchester NH]

July 22, 2021

By Jennifer Crompton and Jessica Moran


Status of bishop remains unchanged, diocese officials say

The bishop of the Diocese of Manchester has been named in a civil lawsuit that alleges sexual abuse of a minor in the 1980s in Deer Park, New York.

Bishop Peter Anthony Libasci, the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, is accused of sexually abusing the alleged victim when the child was around 12 or 13 years old on “numerous occasions” in 1983 and 1984. Libasci allegedly fondled and groped the child’s genitals.

The diocese issued a statement about the lawsuit, telling News 9 that, following standard protocol, the matter has been reported to civil authorities.

During the timeframe of the allegations, Libasci was a priest and pastor at St. Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church in Deer Park. The lawsuit accuses Libasci of abusing the boy on one occasion while the boy was preparing the altar for Mass.

The school was operated under the church and the Sisters of St. Joseph organization, which are also named as defendants. The lawsuit claims they “knew or reasonably should have known, or knowingly condoned, or covered up, the inappropriate and unlawful sexual activities of Abuser.”

In the lawsuit, lawyers for the plaintiff said he continues to suffer physical and psychological injuries and significant emotional distress. The alleged victim’s attorney said the lawsuit was filed now because New York’s Child Victims Act, which went into law in 2019, expires next month.

“The window closes Aug. 14, 2021, and this is a two-year period of time that allows sexual abuse survivors to come forward after decades of living with the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, and it’s a period of time that they really never thought they were going to get,” attorney Linc Leder said.

According to a statement from diocese officials, Libasci’s status remains unchanged.

The diocese said that because this is an ongoing matter and out of respect for the individuals involved, it won’t be providing additional information at this time.

News 9 has reached out to the Vatican for comment but has not heard back.