Former Newburgh Bishop, Priest Accused of Sex Abuse
By Chris McKenna
December 12, 2019
A former parishioner of St. Patrick’s Church on Grand Street alleges in a new lawsuit that both a bishop and another priest at the church sexually abused him when he was a boy.
The accused clergymen are Bishop Austin Vaughn, who was named pastor of the Newburgh church in 1979, and the Rev. Donald Whelan, who was made administrator at around the same time, according to the St. Patrick’s website. Both men are now deceased; Vaughn died in 2000 and Whelan in 1987.
The lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Nov. 26 by Jack Shapiro says the acts occurred on church property between 1979 and 1984, but gives no other details. Shapiro’s Manhattan attorney, Peter Saghir, declined on Thursday to discuss the allegations, and said only that his client lives in New York.
The case, which names St. Patrick’s and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York as defendants, is part of a flood of lawsuits filed in New York since Aug. 14 under the Child Victims Act, a state law that gave people who were sexually abused as children a one-year window to bring civil claims that otherwise would be barred by the statute of limitations.