Author: Adam Horowitz, Attorney

Diocese of Rockville Phase 3

What Have the Details on Phase III of Diocese of Rockville Centre Clergy Abuse Compensation Program

The Diocese of Rockville Centre’s program to compensate sexual abuse victims has been expanded to include claims against Religious Order priests and nuns who were affiliated with the Diocese of Rockville Centre through its schools, parishes, or charitable agencies.  Previously, the program was limited to abuse by Diocesan Priests.  This system was unfair because it arbitrarily excluded large number of victims, including those abuse by Jesuits, Franciscans, Benedictines, Maryknoll Fathers, Paulists, Salesians, Redemptorists and Oblates among many other Religious Orders.

The deadline to register for the Diocese of Rockville Centre program is March 31, 2019. All claims must be registered to be considered for eligibility. The deadline to submit a claim is May 31, 2019.  Note that the program is completely options.  Certain victims may wish to pursue their remedies under New York’s Child Victim Act.  Of course, you can register for Phase III of the compensation program, receive an offer, and then decide whether to accept or file a lawsuit.

Horowitz Law represents victims of clergy sexual abuse in Phase III of the Diocese of Rockville Centre program.  In light of the approaching deadlines, contact us today at (954) 641-2100 or via e-mail at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com if you wish to participate in Phase III of the Diocese of Rockville Centre compensation program.  A properly submitted claim may include: sacrament records, school transcripts, photographs, medical records, and/or witness statements.  As these document may take significant time to assemble, it is important that you and your legal counsel begin this process as soon as possible.

 

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What You Need to Know About New Jersey Catholic Diocese Victim Compensation Program

All five of the Catholic Dioceses in New Jersey have created a unified compensation fund to provide money to people who were sexually abused as children by their clergy.  Victims will be eligible for the funds regardless of whether the statute of limitations has passed on their ability to file a lawsuit against the Diocese or priests.  Payouts will be determined by fund administrators based in part on the extent and duration of the abuse, the nature of the abuse, age of the victim, the impact on the victim’s life, and whether drugs and alcohol were a factor.

The program’s start and finish date have not yet been announced.  Contact Horowitz law today for additional details on how to bring a compensation claim.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey and nationwide.  We have handled similar fund claims in New York and Pennsylvania. Contact us at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or (954) 641-2100 to discuss your options today with a lawyer regarding how to bring a claim in the New Jersey Dioceses compensation fund program.

Some clergy abuse victims praised the opportunity to receive compensation while others view the funds as a public relations tool by the Diocese Bishops to quash legislation that would older victims of abuse an opportunity to file lawsuit on time-barred claims.  Unlike the clams process, a lawsuit would potentially yield answers to questions about the priest’s history of abuse and the role that Bishops and other Diocese officials played in allowing such abuse to occur.

The Dioceses’ announcement comes at a critical juncture for the Catholic church as lawmakers will be deciding in the upcoming session whether whether to temporarily remove the state’s civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse.  Such a change could potentially be financially destructive to the Church and result in public gaining access to church records concerning abusive priests that have been held in secrecy for decades

The five Catholic Dioceses in New Jersey are the Archdiocese of Newark, Diocese of Camden, Diocese of Trenton, Diocese of Paterson, and Diocese of Metuchen.  Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in New Jersey.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in New Jersey now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.

Diocese of Erie Horowitz Law

Diocese of Erie Compensation Program For Abuse Victims Open February 15

The claims period for victims of clergy sexual abuse seeking compensation in the Diocese of Erie will begin February 15, 2019 and continue for a six-month period through August 15, 2019.  Now is the time to act if you wish to pursue such a claim for sexual abuse by a priest.  Horowitz Law has assembled the most comprehensive list available anywhere of clergy abuse of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Erie.  It is an excellent resource if you are looking a particular priest’s history within the Diocese of Erie and whether other abuse allegations have been publicly lodged about the priest.

Sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz is representing clients in this program right now and registering them for their claims to be evaluated for compensation.  The compensation fund is being administered by Ken Feinberg, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer and expert on compensation funds. Feinberg handled the compensation fund for 9/11 victims and similar compensation funds for Dioceses in New York and Pennsylvania.

For decades, the Catholic Church has been plagued by the scandal of clergy sexual abuse by clergy.  An extraordinary number of people with improper sexual impulses seem to have made their way into the priesthood in the Catholic Church. Sadly, the Diocese of Erie in its history has been plagued by many of the same issues  Some of the more notorious perpetrators in the Diocese of Erie include priests Chester “Chet” Gawronski, Michael Barletta, David Paulson, Salvatore Luzzi, Gerard Krebs, Joseph Jerge, Samuel Slocum, and David Dobrowolski, among many others.

“This is something owed to victims,” said Bishop Persico of the Diocese of Erie. “They were harmed by church leaders and people who worked for the church. This is a matter of justice.”  Letters will be going out this week to victims who are already known to the Diocese through prior reports.  However, a prior report by the victim to the Diocese is not a requirement to be eligible for the program.  Those who do not receive letters can still file claims.  The Diocese of Erie includes nearly two hundred fifty thousand Catholics residing in thirteen counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania.. The thirteen counties are Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Erie, Forest, Warren, Clarion, Crawford, Mercer, and Venago.

Charles Aguon - Horowitz Law

Headmaster of Kingdom Preparatory School Arrested for Molestation of Student

Charles Felipe Aguon II, the 34-year old headmaster at Kingdom Preparatory private school in Auburndale, is facing criminal charges of molesting a 15-year old male student.  Aguon is an ordained minister and also works at the school as football coach and seventh/eighth grade teacher.  Aguon reportedly met the boy at school and is alleged to have had sexual contact with the boy off campus at his home in Davenport, Florida in November and December 2018.

During a phone call monitored by law enforcement between Aguon and the boy, the teen told Aguon he felt uncomfortable and did not like when Aguon kissed and touched him.  Aguon then asked the boy, “Oh, the loving on you?”  After the teen said he didn’t like it when Aguon touched his private parts, kissed him and bit his lip, Aguon then said, “You know I was only messing with you,” according to the arrest affidavit. After being arrested at Kingdom Preparatory School, Aguon admitted to kissing the boy and fondling him over the clothes.  He further told detectives that he knew his behavior was inappropriate and that he should not have done it.

According to law enforcement records from the Polk County Sheriff’s office, Aguon and the boy “dry humped” to simulate having sex with their clothes on.  Aguon also allegedly fondled the boy’s genitals over and under the clothes, kissed the boy, and taught him how to shave his private parts.  Law enforcement expressed concern that there may be other victims.  Aguon lives in Davenport with three other men who are teachers at the school.  He was known affectionately by the students as “Pastor Tiger”.  Aguon also served as a football coach and as an associate pastor at Miracle Tabernacle of Praise, which is affiliated with Kingdom Prep.

Horowitz Law is a Florida law firm representing children who have been sexually abused by clergymen and school officials. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused by someone affiliated with a church or school, please contact our office by calling 954-641-2000 or via e-mail at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

Department of Health Brings Sexual Misconduct Claim Against Tampa Massage Therapist

The Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy has filed an Administrative Complaint against massage therapist Louis Gay of Tampa accusing him of sexual misconduct with a female client.  According to the Complaint, the incident occurred on January 25, 2018 when Louis Gay was employed at Essentials Massage and Facial Spa located at 11782 North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.  The Complaint alleges that Louis Gay re-positioned his client’s draping to expose her breast and he then rubbed the center of her breasts with his hands.  It further states that he rubbed her nipples and cupped her breasts with his hands.

Florida law prohibits all sexual activity by any person employed in a massage establishment and says that no licensed massage therapist shall use the therapist-client relationship to engage in sexual activity.  The Board of Massage Therapy is seeking one or more of the following penalties on Louis Gay’s massage therapy license:   permanent revocation or suspension of Respondent’s license, restriction of practice, imposition of an administrative fine, issuance of a reprimand, placement of Respondent on probation, corrective action, refund of fees billed or collected, remedial education and/or any other relief that the Board deems appropriate.  Louis Gay has been licensed as a massage therapist in Florida since June 2017.  Gay has also performed massage therapy services at The Massage Spa in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Often times due to shock and fear of the sexual contact, a massage client will go into an involuntary “freeze response” to cope with the trauma of the assault.  This is a completely normal physiological response because the sexual contact is unexpected and the brain was previously attempting to go into a state of relaxation.  Due to the “freeze response”, a client sexually assaulted in the massage setting often fails to immediately scream for help or otherwise report an assault. Sometimes victims of sexual assault experience guilt or shame if they did not immediately stop the sexual contact or report it right away. The “freeze response” is a completely normal trauma response and the victims should not feel shame or guilt. It is never too late to report a massage therapist for sexual assault.

If you have a been a victim of sexual assault in a spa or during a massage at Massage Envy, Massage Luxe, Hand & Stone, Essential Massage or any other location offering a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

 

 

Florence Fruehan arrest Horowitz Law

Former Palm Coast Doctor Florence Fruehan Arrested on Charges He Abused Elderly Patients

Florence Fruehan was arrested on January 16, 2019 in Flagler County on two felony battery charges involving alleged sexual misconduct perpetrated on elderly patients of his former medical practice. Both alleged victims are older than 65. Under Florida law, battery of a person 65 or older is a felony.  These were not the only reports of sexual misconduct that the Sheriff’s Office receive concerning Florence Fruehan.  Numerous other female patients lodged similar complaints.  According to the arrest affidavit, Freuhan “shows a pattern of violating the rights of female patients that appear to be vulnerable because of specific medications they are prescribed and/or family losses, and their age. He also displays behavior the victims collectively describe as intimidating.”

This is just the latest in a long line of criminal allegations involving Florence Fruehan, age 59, who has surrendered his medical license in August 2018.  He was previously charged with two misdemeanor sexual battery charges in September 2018.  Those charges were dropped by the State Attorney’s office due to concerns related to the statute of limitations.  He was charged with sexual battery in May 2006 after a 26-year-old Palm Coast woman accused him of touching her inappropriately during an exam while her husband was in the room.  Flagler County courthouse records also indicate that  Dr.. Fruehan was the subject of two arrests for misdemeanor battery–on June 23, 1995, and  on Jan. 16, 1996.   The charges were all dropped.

The alleged victims in the criminal charges were 72 and 77 years old at the time of their office visits to Dr. Florence Fruehan. The 72-year-old woman was a long-time patient of Fruehan, as had been her late husband before his death in 2015, and the couple had long considered Fruehan a friend, according to the charging affidavit. They had previously socialized together outside the office. The woman had gone to his office on Pine Cone Drive on March 10, 2016 for a routine physical so she could get a prescription medication.   After the exam, Fruehan allegedly grabbed the woman’s hand and led her to another office, where Fruehan appeared to lock the door after they entered. “Dr. Fruehan unzipped [the woman’s] black vest, unbuttoned the top two buttons of her blouse and began touching her breast on the outside of her bra with his hands,” the arrest report states. “He then grabbed her other breast lifting it up and touching it.” Fruehan then left the room. The woman described herself as being in complete shock. She dressed, left the room and left the clinic as quickly as possible. She found a new doctor and never returned.

The woman’s description of the alleged groping follows much the same pattern that other women have reported, including the woman who originated the complaint to the Department of Health, and the 77-year-old woman who is the alleged victim in the other felony charge against Fruehan.  In that instance, the woman, who suffers from hypertension and required regular check-ups– Fruehan was her primary care physician– had gone to Fruehan’s Urgent Care clinic on March 29, 2017.  Her physical exam began routinely, as it had many times previously. But at one point, Fruehan allegedly placed his stethoscope directly on the woman’s left nipple and pressed down, according to the arrest report. The woman felt uncomfortable as Fruehan had never done that before in all the years he’d been treating her.

When Fruehan told her she could sit back, he made conversation with her unrelated to her health (he advised her to get out more often), then allegedly asked her about her opinion of oral sex, using cruder terms. She told him abruptly: “I have no opinion.” The woman decided to find another doctor and told Fruehan’s staff that she would be leaving the practice.  When Fruehan found out, he called her four times. She saved the messages.

Dr. Florence Fruehan has long history of criminal charges arising from alleged sexual misconduct.  He was previously charged with two misdemeanor sexual battery charges in September 2018.  Those charges were dropped by the State Attorney’s office.  He was charged with sexual battery in May 2006 after a 26-year-old Palm Coast woman accused him of touching her inappropriately during an exam while her husband was in the room.  Flagler County courthouse records also indicate that  Dr.. Fruehan was the subject of two arrests for misdemeanor battery–on June 23, 1995, and  on Jan. 16, 1996.   The charges were all dropped.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who was a patient of Dr. Fruehan and feels that they had an inappropriate experience to call them at (386) 313-4911.

massage envy sexual Horowitz Law

SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST MASSAGE ENVY IN HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA

Horowitz Law has filed a lawsuit in Broward County Circuit Court against the the downtown Hollywood, Florida franchise of Massage Envy arising from an alleged incident of sexual misconduct by massage therapist Aitor Aizpurua at Massage Envy on July 14, 2018.  This Massage Envy franchise is located at 1640 Sheridan Street in Hollywood, Florida.

According to the client, she removed her clothing and covered herself with draping before her massage therapist came into the room.   The Complaint states that the therapist recommended a “Thai massage” to relieve tightness.  Moments later, she says he got on top of her.  The client stated, “I feel his body weight go forward on me, on my back. And then I feel his breathing, kind of like over my neck area. I feel him, just basically getting an erection over my tailbone. When I felt him get the erection, I knew something was wrong.”  The client was frightened at what would happen next but managed to escape from the therapist and quickly end the appointment.

The Florida Department of Health previously issued an Emergency Order on November 29, 2018 restricting the massage therapy license of Aitor Aizpurua.  The Emergency Order was issued in response to this same woman’s sexual misconduct claim.  He has been licensed as a Massage Therapist in Florida since 2017 according to the Department of Health website.

All massage therapist in Florida are licensed by the Florida Department of Health.  Other states have similar licensing boards.  If your massage therapist makes any sexual contact with you, it is a violation of professional ethics and may be a crime.  In addition to reporting misconduct to law enforcement, if this incident occurs in Florida you can also lodge a complaint with the Department of Health at this website: https://www.flhealthcomplaint.gov

If you have a been a victim of sexual assault during a massage at any Massage Envy location, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

 

Diocese of Erie Horowitz Law

Erie Diocese Announces Details To Compensate Abuse Victims

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie announced that it will start accepting claims in February 2019 for compensation by survivors of   sexual abuse by clergy as part of its “Survivors’ Reparation Fund.”  It will offer compensation to survivors who are barred from suing because of time limits a “straight-forward, non-contentious” way for what it says was the “harm that sexual predators within the Diocese of Erie inflicted.”

Although claims will first be submitted in February 2019, now is the time for victims to gather evidence to support their claims. Our law firm works with clients to gather and assemble these documents to submit as part of their claims.  This may include but is not limited to photographs, sacrament records, parish records, school records, medical/counseling records.  It is not necessary to have an eyewitness or even to have previously disclosed the abuse in order to submit a claim for compensation

Unlike other compensation programs set up by Dioceses in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the United States, the compensation program is for not only victims of clergy abuse but also victims of lay employees and volunteers within the diocese, church officials said. Additionally, both minors and vulnerable adults will be eligible for compensation.

According to the Diocese, the money for Phase I of the Survivors’ Reparation Fund will be provided through a new line of credit obtained by the Diocese of Erie and secured by investments. No money donated by the faithful to any parish, school or charitable cause within the diocese will be used in the fund, officials said.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing sexual abuse victims of Catholic priests and other clergy of the Diocese of Erie.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abuse by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office.  Although many years have passed, people who have been sexually abused by priests of the Diocese of Erie can submit a claim for compensation.  Contact attorney Adam Horowitz at 954-641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to find out how to submit your claim today.

 

Records of Florida Priests Identified from Search Warrant Executed in Investigation of Houston Priest

The investigation of Houston area priest Manuel La-Rosa Lopez on sexual assault allegations led law enforcement to a massive series of confidential files on more than 20 clergy members who faced claims of misconduct over the past decade.  Some of the priests whose files were seized in the search at the Shalom Center in Splendora, Texas appear to have active assignments at parishes in Texas, Georgia, California, Florida and New Mexico according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Shalom Center is a pastoral retreat billed as a residential renewal and treatment center.  The center provides treatment for up to 20 Catholic priests, nuns and other religious figures for psychological, emotional and sexual problems; addictions; stress; grief; trauma; and interpersonal conflicts, according to its website.

Attorney Adam Horowitz files civil lawsuits representing children and adults who were victims of sexual abuse and assault by clergymen. If you or someone you know was a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a church or other religious organization, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

 

Allentown Horowitz Law sexual abuse

Allentown Diocese Plans to Pay Priest Abuse Victims

The Diocese of Allentown is in the process of formalizing plans to pay claims made by sexual abuse victims.  Payments are expected to be made in 2019 after written claims forms are submitted.  The Diocese has hired two victims compensation fund experts, Washington, D.C.-based attorney Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, who will have full authority to provide compensation to victims and survivors.    Feinberg and Biros will review claims, determine eligibility and decide compensation amounts, according to a statement from the Diocese. 

The Diocese of Allentown encompasses over 250,000 Catholic in the Lehigh Valley area.  Victims who choose to accept the compensation funds must give up their right to sue the church — but they are not forced to sign confidentiality agreements.  Nevertheless, the decision whether to give up the right to sue on a potentially valuable claim is an important decision that should only be made after consult with legal counsel.  At Horowitz Law, we are representing victims of sexual abuse by clergy of the Diocese of Allentown and actively discussing these options for each client.  We fully understand that financial compensation alone will not heal an abuse victim without other meaningful steps including counseling or therapy.

The Diocese of Allentown says it “will use available cash, sell assets and borrow money to the extent possible to provide funding for the program.”  But, according to the Diocese, the following will not be used:  parish assets, school assets, money previously donated for a restricted purpose, donations to the annual appeal, and funds from weekly collections at Mass.  The following will not be used: parish assets, school assets, money previously donated for a restricted purpose, and donations to the annual appeal. No funds from weekly collections at Mass will be used.

Our law firm is offering free, confidential evaluations of sexual abuse claims involving Catholic priests in the Diocese of Allentown.  Our team has been handling clergy sexual abuse claims for decades. Contact us today at (954) 641-2100 or by email at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to find out your legal options.