NY - Diocese of Rockville Centre Knew of Abusive Priest's History

By Barbara Dorris
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
December 19, 2012

A priest that was suspended from the Diocese of Vancouver for sexual impropriety and later resurfaced in Long Island, NY is now being sued by one of his victims.

Fr. Lawrence “Damian” Cooper was suspended by the Diocese of Vancouver in 1994 for grooming a girl while she was a minor and beginning an illicit relationship when she was 17. Sexual contact with a priest – someone who is supposedly God’s envoy on earth – involves an inherent power imbalance that undermines it and prevents it from being a true relationship. Even if the victim in this case, Kathleen Taylor, had not been a minor when the sexual contact began, this “relationship” would still have been abuse.

Despite this abuse, following his suspension Fr. Cooper was apparently allowed to go the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY and resume duties as a priest after six months of treatment, despite the fact that he was originally intended to undergo treatment for five years. Fr. Cooper was later suspended from his diocese in New York for “problems of a similar nature” in 2001.

The Diocese of Vancouver claims that they “fully informed” the Diocese of Rockville Centre of Fr. Cooper’s history, and believe this absolves them from guilt. However, what they should have done was not to allow Fr. Cooper to transfer there at all, but should have put him in a remote and secure treatment facility. What they did was essentially wash their hands of him after doing the bare minimum. Shame on them.

We urge anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered child sex crimes either in the Diocese of Rockville Centre or the Diocese of Vancouver to immediately come forward and make a report to police.


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