Catholic Church Shielded Priest Who Sexually Abused NY Man As a Kid: Suit
By Priscilla DeGregory
New York Post
December 3, 2020
A New York man says the Catholic Church shielded a priest who sexually abused him for years beginning when he was 13 and homeless in Queens in the 1970s, new court papers show.
Evan Manderson, 63, says the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn failed to report the Rev. Coleman Costello to law enforcement — and even allowed him to retire with a clean slate despite the church’s knowledge of his alleged sexual abuse of children, a new Queens Supreme Court lawsuit alleges.
Manderson says he was only 13 and was living on the streets when he met Costello through an outreach program for children in Rockaway Beach, the court documents say.
Costello allegedly groomed Manderson and sexually abused him for two years, starting in 1971, until he was 15, the court papers say.
A younger priest asked Manderson about Costello and his “questions reflect a prior knowledge and awareness that Fr. Costello had previously engaged in sexual abuse of children before Fr. Costello abused plaintiff,” the court documents allege.
“The Diocese, whose agents not only knew of but also facilitated Costello’s abuse
of children, never reported Fr. Costello to law enforcement but, instead, concealed the crimes against children,” the suit charges.
“The extent of the alleged abuse Evan suffered is unconscionable and it will stay with him for the rest of his life,” said Manderson’s lawyer Daniel Lapinski. “Adding to his anguish is the knowledge that Fr. Costello’s alleged pattern of behavior was seemingly known and yet it appears nothing was done to protect Evan or other children.”
Manderson was able to file his lawsuit, despite the fact that it would normally be time-barred, under the New York Child Victims Act, which temporarily allows victims of childhood abuse to bring claims regardless of when they occurred.
“We cannot comment on the details of this pending litigation,” a spokesperson with the diocese said.
Costello did not immediately return a request for comment.