Eight Priests from the Rochester Diocese Accused of Sexually Abusing Children
By Sean Lahman
Democrat and Chronicle
June 6, 2018
|In 2011, Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Kevin Waldrip of Woodridge, and Father Robert Hoatson of "Road to Recovery, pictured as advocates for victims of priest abuse.|
Saying it is time for "the church to stop these evil acts" a Boston attorney who has spent decades representing victims of sexual abuse called on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester to release records it may hold concerning allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy.
Mitchell Garabedian on Wednesday stood on the steps of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester and named eight priests from the Rochester diocese who are accused of sexually abusing minor children. A group of 15 men and two women, now grown, say they were abused by these priests when they were children.
Garabedian said the incidents took place between 1950 and 1978 when the alleged perpetrators were assigned to churches in the Rochester diocese. He said the victims, all of whom approached him within the past six months, are now between the ages of 52 and 77.
"And as you can see from the assignment sheets from the official Catholic directory, these priests were transferred from parish to parish, which is typical of a diocese, or archdiocese or the Catholic Church," said Garabedian.
He called on Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matano to release any records he has about allegations of sexual abuse against priests, including so-called "secret files," so the public can know who the accused priests are and what their supervisors did to respond to allegations.
"The question always remains how far up the chain did sexual abuse go, and how many supervisors allowed this sexual abuse to go on time and time again," he said.
Three of the accused priests had been publicly identified in the past. Allegations of misconduct by Eugene Emo, David P. Simon, and Francis H. Vogt were reported by the local press and the accusations were acknowledged by the Diocese. Emo and Simon were removed from their ministry and Vogt has since died.
But allegations against five of the priests accused Wednesday had not been previously reported. They include:
Thomas J. Valenti
Gary P. Shaw
Richard J. Orlando
G. Stuart Hogan
Charles J. McCarthy
Valenti is currently serving as the parochial administrator at Blessed Trinity St Patrick's parish in Owego (Tioga County). He served as an associate pastor at Blessed Sacrament church and worked for many years as the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Rochester.
Garabedian said allegations of abuse against Valenti began when he was a deacon and continued after he became a priest at St. Mary's of the Lake parish in Ontario, Wayne County.
He also called for Valenti to resign.
Shaw began his ministry at St. Patrick church in Savannah and later St. Margaret Mary church in Irondequoit.
Garabedian said allegations against him concern his time at St. Margaret Mary.
Orlando served at a series of churches in Rochester, including St. Francis Xavier, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Holy Rosary as well as St. Helen's church in Gates. He retired from St. Michael in Lyons, Wayne County, in 1993 and died in 2006.
Hogan served at Sacred Heart Cathedral from 1924 to 1931 and then at a succession of churches outside of Monroe County. He retired from St. Gregory Church in Marion in 1965.
Garabedian said the allegations against Hogan concern his time at St. Gregory.
McCarthy was an assistant at St Bridget’s and Holy Rosary parishes from 1947 to 1960. He was serving at St. Andrew's Church on Portland Avenue when he died in 1971. Garabedian said it was while McCarthy was at St. Andrew that he allegedly abused a child.
Garabedian is a Boston attorney who rose to prominence representing survivors of sexual abuse by priests there in the 1990s and 2000s. He was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, which chronicled the case. To date, his firm has represented more than 1,000 victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
He has recently worked with people in Syracuse and Buffalo who made similar allegations there.
"It is time for the victims to try to heal and it is time for the church to stop these evil acts," he said.
Garabedian was joined by Robert M. Hoatson, founder and president of Road to Recovery, a non-profit organization that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families.
At the press conference, Hoatson, a former Catholic priest, echoed the call for Bishop Matano to release any information he holds about allegations against local priests.
"If not for the 17 very courageous and harmed people who came forward, we would not be here today," he said. "And yet we have an entity here in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester with all the resources to make information available so that people can heal."
Also standing with Garabedian was James Faluszczak, a former priest in Erie, Pennsylvania, who is helping childhood sexual abuse victims in the Buffalo area. He said he was also a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and called for other victims to come forward.
"What I say to other victims is that you are not alone," he said. "Even if it may feel as though your soul has been murdered, you are not alone and there are people waiting to help you."
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Rochester did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but said the organization would have a statement soon.
Garabedian said he has spoken to diocese officials, who have requested to have their own investigators speak to the alleged victims and possibly try to resolve the cases through arbitration or mediation.
He called the diocese response "callous, typical of the Diocese of Rochester and not pastoral in any sense of the word."