Celebrated LGBT priest Bernard J. Lynch abused Bronx Catholic school student: suit

By Priscilla Degregory
New York Post
November 20, 2019

A Pennsylvania man claims that a gay Irish priest — who is celebrated for his work advocating for LGBT and AIDS causes — abused him 40 years ago at a Bronx Catholic high school, according to a new lawsuit.

The 57-year-old, who filed the court papers anonymously, says he was 16 when Campus Chaplain Bernard J. Lynch sexually abused him after Christian Club meetings at Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx in 1978 and 1979, a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday alleges.

The accuser brought the case against the archdiocese, the high school and several other religious orders for negligently failing to look into why Lynch had “frequent transfers between assignments,” the court papers say.

The suit claims the school should have warned the teens family about Lynch.

“Defendants further breached their duties by hiding a pedophile and engaging in a cover-up of abuse perpetrated by Fr. Bernard Lynch,” the court documents charge.

The alleged victim has filed the suit in the wake of the Child Victims Act that went into effect in August, which allows people who were abused as kids to bring claims that have already passed outside the statute of limitations.

Lynch — who married his partner Billy Desmond in 2017 — was acquitted in Bronx court in 1989 of sexually abusing a different teen at the same school.

The 72-year-old priest, who has lived in London since 1992, spent a decade volunteering on a New York HIV/AIDS task force and was the only Catholic priest to testify to City Council before the body passed LGBT civil rights legislation in 1986, according to the Irish Times.

He is set to be given the Distinguished Service Awards for charitable work by Irish President Michael Higgins on Thursday, the outlet reported.

The accuser’s lawyer, Patrick Noaker, said his client “is very brave to take this action so that others can be spared the sexual abuse that he endured.”

“He hopes that children and their parents will not be intoxicated by Fr. Lynch’s big personality and public recognition and instead protect themselves from sexual abuse,” Noaker said.

The president and CEO of Mount St. Michael Academy, Peter Corritori, told The Post, “Back then and now we have zero tolerance for that type of behavior. Once we see the filing, we will investigate to the fullest of our ability.”

Lynch did not immediately return email requests for comment.

A rep with the New York Archdiocese declined to comment.


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