MANHATTAN — Ten new sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Brooklyn on Sept. 9. The cases are part of the Child Victims Act that lifts the statute of limitations for one year in New York state.
Jeff Anderson & Associates P.A. in partnership with Robins Kaplan LLP, claim three of those lawsuits were filed against alleged offenders who had never been named publicly before.
In a statement released on Sept. 10, the diocese addressed the most recent allegations.
“On the ten new cases filed today, we are just learning about them and need to carefully review the allegations made in these lawsuits,” the statement read. “But you will see four priests are already on the list we published of credibly accused priests in February: https://dioceseofbrooklyn.org/sex-abuse-crisis-response/list/
Four lawsuits involve religious brothers, who are under the direction of their respective religious superiors. One is a layperson.”
In addition to the lawsuits, the firm and a man named Thomas Davis are accusing Msgr. Otto Garcia, a current priest in the diocese, of abuse. They said the diocese didn’t take Davis’ case seriously when Davis initially reported the alleged abuse that occurred during the 1970s.
“It was swept under the rug. They did nothing. They said nothing,” Davis said. “They said it was unsubstantiated, and I said, ‘How can people who are committing crimes in the dark, be substantiated?'”
The diocese’s statement denies the claims against Msgr. Garcia, saying an independent review board didn’t find them credible because of a lack of evidence.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn categorically denies the allegations made today by Jeff Anderson. He is well aware of the actions taken by the Diocese of Brooklyn with respect to Monsignor Otto Garcia, yet he is making sensational misrepresentations in order to garner media attention,” the diocese said.
The list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors published by the Diocese of Brooklyn in February can be found on the diocese’s website.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established the Dallas Charter in 2002 to confront sexual abuse. Following the charter, the Diocese of Brooklyn established the Office of Victim Assistance, which helps individuals who come forward with claims of abuse. It provides counseling and referrals for therapy.
Within the diocese, measures have been taken to prevent abuse, including requiring training for every employee and student in the diocese on how to spot signs of abuse and how to report it.
“Over these years, we have sought to express our deep contrition and sorrow for the evil crimes committed by some members of our Church,” the statement concluded.
“Today and every day, we stand with victim-survivors on their journey toward healing,” the diocese said.
To read the full diocesan statement, go to https://thetablet.org/statement-from-the-diocese-of-brooklyn/