ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
The Messenger [West Palm Beach FL]
November 24, 2023
By Ben Feuerherd
Alan Placa has for years faced accusations of sexual abuse — even as he maintained a close professional and personal relationship with Giuliani
A former New York Catholic priest and the longtime close friend of ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani is facing a new sex abuse lawsuit from a man who says he was drugged and raped on Fire Island by the once powerful clergyman.
The civil suit, filed in Albany on Nov. 16, alleged Monsignor Alan Placa molested the plaintiff when he was a teenager from 1975 until 1977. Placa was first accused of sex abuse in 2002.
The accuser, who filed the lawsuit anonymously as “John Doe,” met Placa at St. Pius X, a preparatory school on Long Island, New York, which was part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, the complaint states.
Placa, who was teaching at the school, abused the teen first at the school in January 1975, according to the suit.
In the fall of that year, Placa and another priest took the teen and another boy to a home on Fire Island, a beach community on the southern shore of Long Island, the suit alleges.
At the home, Placa drugged and raped the teen, the complaint states.
The plaintiff is seeking unspecified damages to be determined by a jury at a trial, according to the suit.
Attorneys for the plaintiff did not respond to a request for comment.
Richard Tollner, a 62-year-old Albany-area resident, previously described being abused by Placa as a 15-year-old at St. Pius X and on Fire Island in the same time frame in a separate lawsuit filed in 2019.
Tollner and another accuser, Christopher Fernan, each filed suit against Placa and the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Nassau County State Supreme Court in 2019 under New York’s Child Victims Act.
That complaint has stalled since the diocese declared bankruptcy in 2020, according to court filings in the cases.
Placa denied the allegations and claimed they were lodged to “curry favor and gain traction in the media,” according to court records.
Placa, who according to records now lives in Florida, has maintained a close professional and personal friendship with Giuliani despite the allegations.
He was placed on administrative leave in 2002 after a grand jury investigation by the Suffolk County district attorney’s office into the diocese’s handling of sexual abuse.
He was later cleared of wrongdoing in 2009 by a Vatican tribunal, which upheld the determination by a three-person panel from the Rockville Centre Diocese that found Placa not guilty of abuse, the New York Times reported.
Placa was allowed to retire from priestly duties “in good standing,” according to the Times report.
He has repeatedly denied the allegations, including in a 2021 Newsday interview.
According to a 2021 report compiled by Jeff Anderson and Associates, a law firm that has represented numerous victims of clergy sex abuse, Placa met Giuliani at age 13 while they both attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn and later attended college together.
In college, Placa allegedly penned a letter that railed against Giuliani’s opponent for class president in a “smear campaign” to aid the future mayor’s candidacy, according to the report.
Later, Placa served as the best man at Giuliani’s wedding to first wife Regina Peruggi, officiated the funeral mass for his father, got church permission to annul Giuliani’s marriage and officiated the wedding for his second marriage, according to the report.
In 2002, while on administrative leave, Placa joined Giuliani’s private firm, Giuliani Partners, first as a consultant and later as a senior vice president. Placa’s LinkedIn profile still identifies as a senior vice president at the company.
Giuliani was indicted alongside former president Donald Trump in August for allegedly trying to illegally influence the 2020 presidential election.
A spokesman for the former New York mayor did not return a request for comment.
Placa, who also did not respond to a phone call from The Messenger, played an integral role in the Catholic Church’s response to the sprawling sexual abuse scandal that gripped the institution in the 1990s early 2000s, according to the law firm’s report.
In 1978, Placa reportedly left his post at St. Pius X and attended law school at Hofstra University.
Upon graduating Placa allegedly put his legal skills to work by helping the church navigate through a deluge of sexual abuse claims, the Jeff Anderson and Associates report states.
Placa became the “chief architect” of the Church’s sexual abuse management system, effectively minimizing losses by securing non-disclosure agreements and quick settlements from families, according to the report.