Family Asks Defamation Suit Be Dropped

By Kerry McAvoy
The Leader-Herald
November 30, 2008

FONDA - The Palatine Bridge family who was named in a defamation suit two weeks ago, by Rev. John W. Broderick, is seeking to have the lawsuit thrown out of court.

In a release sent to the Leader-Herald, the family's attorney John Aretakis stated he will file the family's answer to the lawsuit in court on Monday.

Broderick filed his lawsuit in Montgomery County on Nov. 17. naming eight family members, including the four children the family alleges he abused. The suit is seeking $500,000 from the family for loss of reputation, loss of legal fees, loss of prospective employment, pain and mental anguish and other damages.

Aretakis said Friday evening that the only reason he can think the lawsuit was filed was to improve his public image and to intimidate the family.

Broderick's suit alleges the family made false statements about the priest engaging in sexual acts with others. The suit also claims the sexual abuse claims the family made are false.

The family's answer claims Broderick failed to have alleged the requisite elements of slander or defamation claim and has not given times or dates when the alleged statements were made.

"The only way to sue for liable, defamation and slander is to have the exact words said, the date and time it was said and who they published it to," Aretakis said.

It also states Broderick has a history of psychologically unstable actions and has, upon information and belief, molested additional boys.

Aretakis also claims Broderick molested a student at the St. Gregory's Academy during the 2005 school year and "has a history of abusive and/or sick behavior." The suit alleges Broderick refused an order to take a psychiatric examination due to past insubordination and sexual misconduct. It also claims Broderick's personnel records show he has psychological or psychiatric disorders.

The suit claims Broderick "has unnecessarily and in bad faith sued a six-year-old and eight-year-old child and other children, and as such has instituted this suit in order to intimidate and harass the defendants."

The family's response asks the court to dismiss the complaint.

Aretakis said the family is being forced to file suit against Broderick and his employer for the 'actual abuse." Aretakis said he would likely name the Syracuse Diocese in this law suit as well as Broderick.

He said the family was forced to file this suit after Broderick filed his and after a judge in Syracuse said records on Broderick could not be obtained by Aretakis but could be released upon a civil suit.

He said the lawsuit should be filed soon.

Aretakis recently had his request to obtain personnel and other files on Broderick turned down by a court in Syracuse. Aretakis sought records from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and Syracuse as well as several other religious organizations and the Rev. Broderick himself.

Broderick was arrested in February and indicted in August in Montgomery County Court on three counts of engaging in two or more sexual acts with children younger than 11 years old and one count of giving alcohol to a minor.

Broderick's attorney- John J. Broderick, no relation, of Syosset, Nassau County -has said the priest passed a lie-detector test.

Attorney John J. Broderick could not be reached for comment Friday night.

Broderick was ordained through the Syracuse Diocese as a Roman Catholic priest in 1989. He served in three parishes during his time there. His last assignment was at St. Malachy's in Sherburne, Chenango County, where he stayed until 2003.

A spokeswoman for the Syracuse Diocese said Broderick then took a leave of absence from the church.

He was never given permission to serve as a priest in the Albany Diocese. Visiting priests must obtain permission from the diocese to serve.

Spokesmen for both diocese have said their diocese have yet to receive a complaint about the incident. The spokesman for the Albany Diocese said the only knowledge the Albany Diocese has about the case is from media calls.

Broderick is set to go to trial in Montgomery County Court on Jan. 26.

Kerry McAvoy covers Montgomery County. She can be reached at


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.