4 new sex-abuse suits filed against Monsignor Paddack; 1 from time as Farrell principal

By Maura Grunlund
July 29, 2020

Monsignor John Paddack is named as an alleged abuser in four new lawsuits filed Wednesday.

A new lawsuit claims that Monsignor John Paddack sexually abused a boy at Monsignor Farrell High School in the early 2000s.

The former principal of the all-boys school in Oakwood was named in four new lawsuits filed Wednesday in Manhattan state Supreme Court by Jeff Anderson & Associates under the New York Child Victim’s Act.

“These lawsuits demonstrate Paddack’s pattern of predation: In each instance, exploiting his clerical power to abuse children,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. His firm has filed numerous lawsuits alleging sex-abuse by clergy.

The Archdiocese of New York and Farrell are defendants in the lawsuit, which names the monsignor, who was principal at the high school from 2002 until 2010.

“From approximately 2002 to 2003, when Plaintiff was approximately 14 to 15 years old, Msgr. Paddack engaged in unpermitted sexual contact with Plaintiff in violation of at least one section of New York Penal Law Article 130 and/or § 263.05, or a predecessor statute that prohibited such conduct at the time of the abuse,” the lawsuit alleges. “Plaintiff’s relationship to Defendants and Msgr. Paddack, as a vulnerable child, student, and participant in church activities, was one in which Plaintiff was subject to the ongoing influence of Defendants and Msgr. Paddack.”

It continues: “The culture of the Catholic Church over Plaintiff created pressure on Plaintiff not to report the abuse Plaintiff suffered.”

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the anonymous victim, slams the Archdiocese for employment practices that it claims facilitated abuse.

“Defendants negligently retained Msgr. Paddack with knowledge of Msgr. Paddack’s propensity for the type of behavior which resulted in Plaintiff’s injuries in this action,” the lawsuit alleges. “Defendants failed to investigate Msgr. Paddack’s past and/or current history of sexual abuse and, through the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of Msgr. Paddack’s propensity for child sexual abuse. Defendants should have made an appropriate investigation of Msgr. Paddack and failed to do so. An appropriate investigation would have revealed the unsuitability of Msgr. Paddack for continued employment and it was unreasonable for Defendants to retain Msgr. Paddack in light of the information they knew or should have known.

“Defendants negligently retained Msgr. Paddack in a position where he had access to children and could foreseeably cause harm which Plaintiff would not have been subjected to had Defendants taken reasonable care.”


The other three lawsuits filed Wednesday allege that Monsignor Paddack sexually abused a plaintiff then 13 to 14 years old at Incarnation R.C. Church in Manhattan from about 1995 to 1997; a plaintiff then about 13 to 16 years old at Incarnation and Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx from about 1990 to 1993; and a plaintiff ages 11 to 14 at Incarnation from about 1987 to 1990.

Last October, a public school teacher stepped forward and spoke to the Advance/ about the abuse he allegedly suffered while he was a student at St. Joseph-by-the-Sea High School in Huguenot.

Joseph Caramanno, now in his 30s, filed two lawsuits then that name Monsignor Paddack as his abuser. Caramanno told the Advance/ that he was violated from 2001 to 2002 during school hours inside Monsignor Paddack’s private office in the high school at 5150 Hylan Blvd.

He went to Monsignor Paddack for counseling and to receive doses of prescribed medication that were kept in the then-administrator’s office, Caramanno told the Advance.

Monsignor Paddack announced last July 2019 that he was stepping down as pastor at Notre Dame R.C. Church in Manhattan and also dean of the West Manhattan deanery. However, the monsignor currently remains listed as pastor on the church’s website.

Anderson & Associates alleges in a news release that Monsignor Paddack “has remained in active ministry under Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.”


“The Archdiocese of New York takes all allegations of sexual abuse seriously, and reacts with compassion, respect, and sensitivity,” said a statement from Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the Archdiocese. “However, we are unable to comment on specific allegations, particularly those that are the subject of litigation.”

“Monsignor Paddack is not in active ministry,” Zwilling said.

Monsignor Paddack did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“He’s not in right now, he’ll be in later either tomorrow or Friday,” said a woman who answered the phone at Notre Dame.

In an interview last year regarding abuse allegations, he said: “Nothing happened, believe me. I have a 50-year record of teaching. And it’s a good record, believe me. I think they’re seeing the advertisements on television and in the paper, and a chance to make money. Very sad, and it could ruin a reputation.”

Monsignor Paddack served as pastor of Notre Dame since 2012, and before that was administrator there for nearly a year. He has been dean of West Manhattan since 2015, according to Catholic New York.

During his eight year’s at the helm of Farrell, the monsignor masterminded the completion of Farrell’s current sports complex, as well as improvements to the technology program, including the installation of computer Smart boards in the classrooms; an upgrade of the science labs; an expansion of the spring travel-abroad program, and new course offerings in advanced placement classes students can take for college credits.

When Monsignor Paddack presided over his final Farrell commencement in 2010, he told the Advance he was going on sabbatical to study theology in California before seeking parish work in Manhattan. He served as an educator, counselor and administrator in Catholic schools for much of his then 40-year career, and said he was seeking a change to pastoral work.



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