Jurist Tosses $5M Abuse Case against Diocese
Massachusetts Jurist Says Franciscan Not under Albany Control
By Carol Demare
Albany Times Union
June 15, 2006
A Massachusetts judge has thrown out a $5 million lawsuit against the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese brought by a local man who says he was abused as a teenager by a priest who would take him to Massachusetts.
Mark Lyman of Stillwater claimed that he was 13 when the alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. Frank Genevive began in 1978. Genevive, a member of the Franciscan Order, was assigned to St. Anthony of Padua Church in Troy.
Lyman alleged the priest photographed and videotaped him while on the trips. The priest later served at two Cape Cod churches.
The diocese argued members of the Franciscan and other religious orders are not under its jurisdiction as are diocesan priests.
Superior Court Justice Christopher J. Muse agreed.
"Lyman has failed to produce any evidence that the diocese employed, paid, controlled or supervised Genevive when he allegedly sexually abused Lyman in Massachusetts," the judge wrote in a decision handed down last week. "Further, Lyman has submitted no evidence that a 'special relationship' existed' (between him and the diocese) which would give rise to a fiduciary duty."
Muse dismissed all claims against the diocese and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard.
"The decision speaks for itself," diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb said. He said the priest was not under the control or supervision of the diocese.
Lyman, co-chairman of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said, "This situation only supports my position that victims in New York state need a review of the statute of limitations by our legislators, and they need to be able to redress their abuse in a civil court, and that's the only way that these cases will be handled fairly."
He said he had a legal right to file a claim in Massachusetts, but the alleged abuse was "far more extensive and occurred many more times here in New York."
When the lawsuit was filed in December 2004, the Rev. Robert Campagna, the provincial of the Franciscan Order of the Immaculate Conception, said Genevive had been sent to the Mount Alvernia Friary in Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County, two years earlier after several other allegations were made against him. Campagna could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
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