Priest and religious brother sexually abused former Mount Loretto resident, lawsuit alleges
By Frank Donnelly
September 13, 2020
|The 65-year-old plaintiff alleges he was abused while at the Pleasant Plains orphanage between 1963 and 1974.|
In the latest of a string of lawsuits, another former resident of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto alleges he was repeatedly sexually abused by clergy and staff members there.
New Jersey resident Francisco Pamias was molested by a priest, the late Rev. Eugene Mangan, as well as a religious brother, and was physically abused by two lay counselors while at the Pleasant Plains shelter for homeless and destitute children, a civil complaint alleges.
Pamias, 65, resided at Mount Loretto between 1963 and 1974, said the complaint.
Orphaned at a young age, Pamias “had no safe haven to go to and no one to talk to about the abuse that he was suffering inasmuch as the individuals with power and authority at Mount Loretto were the same people who were inflicting the abuse,” the complaint alleges.
Any outcry Pamias might have made would have resulted “in an acceleration and aggravation of the abusive behavior,” contends the suit.
“It’s obviously a tragic situation, what happened to him,” said Anthony L. Ameduri, Pamias' lawyer.
Ameduri, a principal in the West Brighton firm of Ameduri, Galante & Friscia, said he couldn’t comment further, adding the suit speaks for itself.
The litigation was recently filed in state Supreme Court, St. George, under the Child Victims Act.
Named as defendants are the Archdiocese of New York, Catholic Charities of Staten Island, Mount Loretto and several other parties.
Pamias seeks unspecified monetary damages.
In an email, Joseph Zwilling, an Archdiocese spokesperson, said the Archdiocese “takes all allegations of abuse seriously, and responds with respect and compassion to all.”
However, the Archdiocese is unable to comment on specific cases, including those currently being brought under the Child Victims Act, said Zwilling.
Enacted on Aug. 14, 2019, the Child Victims Act created a one-year window for plaintiffs of any age to sue alleged abusers regardless of when the abuse occurred.
The law also allows victims of sexual abuse to sue their alleged abuser any time before they turn 55.
In May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a provision extending the filing period to Jan. 14, 2021, citing the statewide limitation of court functions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the suit, Pamias, his brother and sister went to live at Mount Loretto after they were orphaned.
Pamias was 7 or 8 years old then.
While a resident, Pamias was “subjected to repeated sexual, emotional and physical abuse … by numerous priests and members of the staff,” the complaint alleges.
Father Mangan would take Pamias to his bedroom where he plied the youth with alcohol, alleges the complaint.
The late priest would kiss Pamias on the face and perform sex acts on him, the complaint alleges.
The Advance/SILive.com previously reported that Father Mangan was named on the Archdiocese list of clergy who were either credibly accused of abuse, or who were the subject of a claim made to the New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) that was deemed eligible for compensation. The late priest was included on the latter list.
According to Advance archives, Father Mangan was ordained in 1958 and served at Mount Loretto from 1959 to 1979.
In a prior lawsuit, John Rodriguez, another former Mount Loretto resident, has accused Father Mangan and several other priests and staff members of sexually abusing him while he was at the Mission from 1953 to 1967.
With respect to the religious brother, Pamias alleges the older man performed sex acts on him and would talk to him about graphic sex.
The lay counselors physically abused Pamias, the complaint alleges.
One counselor would force Pamias and other kids to stand at attention, with books in their outstretched arms, for up to two hours, the complaint alleges.
Another counselor smacked Pamias on the head with a large ring, creating a “permanent lump” on the plaintiff’s head, maintains the complaint.
The suit is one of several filed since last year in which a number of one-time Mount Loretto residents allege they were abused at the hands of nuns, priests and lay employees at the former orphanage.
Some of the alleged incidents date as far back as the 1950s, with the last extending into the early 1990s.
As the suits became public last year, several former Mount Loretto residents rallied to the mission’s defense. They told the Advance/SILive.com they were unaware of any sexual abuse that allegedly occurred on the grounds, nor had they ever heard of such incidents.
Mount Loretto served as a children’s shelter beginning in the late 1800s and fostered thousands of children over its 100-plus-year history. Many were wards of the court, either orphaned or from broken homes and other dire circumstances.
By 1964, it was the largest child-care institution in the U.S. The average stay for most youngsters was three years, but some could spend their entire teenage years at the facility.
The end of foster-care service was announced in 1994. Today, the campus is run by Catholic Charities of Staten Island and is home to two public schools, a senior and a community center, a food pantry and a day-care facility.