How a New York Court Pierced Dolan’s Bubble of Entitlement

Complicit Clergy [Partlow, VA]

April 26, 2024

By Gene Thomas Gomulka

A scathing legal loss for Cardinal Timothy Dolan has finally forced into the light what the New York prelate did not want Catholics to know: Dolan has been fighting for the “right” to sexually abuse and re-victimize minors and vulnerable adults and then have others pick up the tab.  A New York Appeals Court ruling revealed as much when it unanimously rebuffed Dolan’s bid to force Chubb Insurers to finance mounting clergy sex abuse claims, even when the abuse was enabled and covered up by Church leaders.  Likening Dolan’s scheme to an arsonist setting fire to his house and then demanding an insurance payout, Chubb argued in Court that the New York Archdiocese “alone must bear the full financial consequences of its criminal behavior.”  With Dolan and his fellow New York bishops battling more than 3,300 recently filed sex abuse cases, Dolan’s legal defeat points to a deeper crisis sweeping the Church hierarchy: a culture of entitlement among prelates and priests who believe they deserve the “right” to scorch their victims cost-free courtesy of their insurers.

A recent investigation, “From Predators to Pastors?” reveals why the legal system may have finally taken a meaningful step that will prove painful for Dolan’s cover-up efforts.  The investigation exposes multiple cases where Dolan is knowingly keeping accused sex abusers in New York parishes and schools and hiding their alleged predation from the public.  Investigators blast Dolan for shielding high-ranking Archdiocesan officials like Vocations Director, Father George Sears, who remains in his post despite being the subject of a corroborated criminal police complaint alleging that he repeatedly sexually assaulted a seminarian; Monsignor Thomas Derivan, whom Dolan is still allowing to head a Bronx parish and elementary school despite a lawsuit reporting that he performed oral sex on a minor; Father Donald Timone, whose “substantiated” abuse allegations were never disclosed in a fraudulent suitability letter falsified by the New York Archdiocese; and Monsignor John Paddack, a priest Dolan allowed to remain “Pastor” of a prestigious Manhattan parish while being named in 11 sex abuse lawsuits.  Dolan’s quest to make Chubb brunt the burden of his cover-ups would have allowed him and his scandal-plagued Vicar for Clergy, Bishop Edmund Whalen, to escape penalties for concealing sex abuse reports and re-assigning priests after they were named in abuse complaints.  This week’s Court ruling paves the way for Dolan to be financially answerable for why he buried the reports he received and allowed predator priests to stay in ministry.

Dolan’s legal blow comes as he launches his annual multi-million-dollar annual stewardship appeal seeking to rake in more than $21 million from New York Catholics.  A Complicit Clergy exclusive report recently revealed that Dolan has been sending eight-figure donation requests to victims and whistleblowers whose abuse and reprisals he has covered up, a move that left recipients stunned that the same prelate who gaslighted them and ignored their abuse complaints is now soliciting them to finance his agenda.  After news reports showed how donations to Dolan are being used to fund the salaries and benefits of accused clerics owing to their status as actively-ministering priests, a growing number of Catholics are slamming Dolan’s stewardship appeal as a “shameless money grab” and are vowing to withhold future contributions until the Vatican defrocks Dolan.  Victims’ advocates observe that while prelates like Dolan funnel the money of uninformed Catholics to credibly accused priests who live comfortable lives, victims of sexual abuse are left with life-long scars and sometimes commit suicide as a result of the trauma.

The New York Appeals Court appears to have finally pierced the penalty-free bubble in which Dolan and countless other bishops have lived for years.  With no one else to pay for his sins, might Dolan now have to sell off his lavish 15,000-square-foot Manhattan mansion valued at over $30 million, or relinquish his plush multi-million dollar clergy residence dubbed “Dolan’s retirement spa” where he is  housing accused priests?  Will Courts now order prelates like Cardinal Donald Wuerl to personally compensate victims from the more than $4 million he received from the Washington Archdiocese for “continuing ministry activities” after he resigned in disgrace?  Might legal proceedings now unearth the secret assets of prelates like Archbishop William Lori who, along with numerous other bishops, received hidden hefty financial gifts from accused predator Bishop Michael Bransfield?  Bishops who have re-victimized abuse victims are now confronting the stinging reality that they may no longer be able to set fire to the souls entrusted to their care and count on insurance companies to underwrite the damage they caused.

Gene Thomas Gomulka is a sexual abuse victims’ advocate, investigative reporter, and screenwriter. A former Navy (O6) Captain/Chaplain, seminary instructor, and diocesan respect life director, Gomulka was ordained a priest for the Altoona-Johnstown diocese and later made a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by St. John Paul II.  Follow Gene Gomulka on YouTube or email him at