Catholic Diocese Named in Lawsuit

By Bill Carey
10 News Now
March 28, 2009 catholic-diocese-named-in-lawsuit/Default.aspx

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- John Aretakis has been here before. He's waged an ongoing battle with the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese over what it did or did not do in the case of Father John Broderick, a priest arrested last year for allegedly abusing four young boys in the same family. The priest has since been convicted on one misdemeanor count in the case.

A new civil case has been filed to free up diocesan records on Broderick.

"They knew about him. They allowed him to roam free. They moved him from parish to parish, or, in this case, they allowed him to walk around like a gypsy priest on his own. To travel down to Albany, to North Carolina, up to Massena and then down to Pennsylvania. And he really was, most times, unsupervised and not supervised at all," said Aretakis.

What may be most surprising about the case is the fact that much of it unfolded long after the Catholic church had been rocked by a scandal involving abuse by members of the clergy. And long after the church said it was taking steps to avoid such scandal in the future.

More than five years ago, the Syracuse Diocese unveiled its own plan for action.

"We are keeping a good eye on all of those who have been guilty, in one way or another, of sexual abuse. We're monitoring them," Bishop James Moynihan said in January 2004.

And just a year ago, on a visit to the United States, the Pope said the scandal was a low point for the church.

"No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse," said Pope Benedict XVI.

Aretakis says the children have begun to come to terms with what happened.

"I think they're better, but they're not well, yet," Aretakis said.

But he says the most important step in the process is one that only the church can take.

"It's important that the Syracuse Diocese strip this man of his ministry, once and for all, permanently. And he's indicated that he's going to take that appeal to the Vatican. But no one wants to see this guy parading around anywhere in the country as a priest anymore," said Aretakis.

The diocese says it continues to cooperate with authorities.

Sentencing for Father Broderick on his misdemeanor conviction is expected in April.


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