Category: Sex

priest sexual abuse

Sexually Abusive Behavior Can Come in All Different Forms

An odd and disturbing Michigan story serves as an important reminder to parents, police and in fact, all of us:

Some sick adults get sexual satisfaction from acts that may not seem to be sexual at all. In other words, “weird” behavior may not just be weird. It may also be abusive.

A Detroit area priest must spend 60 days in jail and register as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to covering a boy – including his eyes and mouth – in bubble wrap for an hour.

https://apnews.com/9f261990f62e57dec65971af706fa5da

While his defense lawyer disagrees, the Michigan Attorney General’s office convinced a judge that the cleric derived sexual pleasure from this twisted move.

Our firm once handled a similarly unusual and unsettling case against a Colorado cleric, Andrew Burke, who rubbed ice on kids blindfolded them, and stroked a feather on their skin.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2005_10_14_Mitchell_TwoMore_Andrew_Burke_2.htm

We also handled cases involving a Marianist brother, William C. Mueller, who spent time in Missouri, Texas and Colorado. While teaching at Chaminade school in St. Louis, he convinced at least one student that he was conducting a psychological ‘experiment’ to get his doctoral degree. Mueller blindfolded the boy “asked bizarre questions, began rubbing his neck and back and blowing in his ear, then blindfolded him, put what felt like a knife to his throat and simulated intercourse.”

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/09_10/2007_10_20_Ratcliffe_MarianistsOrder.htm

These kinds of bizarre actions are technically called “paraphilias” by professionals. They cross the victims’ boundaries, arouse perpetrators and cause harm, even if victims chalk up the experience as ‘creepy’ rather than sexual abuse or exploitation.

And, just like more conventional forms of sexual abuse, victims often can’t understand and accept the acts as abusive and hurtful until decades later.

So if you know someone who went through a ‘weird’ or ‘creepy’ experience with an adult, do them a favor.  Gently raise the possibility with them that the adult MAY have sought or gained some sort of sexual gratification from the encounter.  Urge them to talk with professionals in counseling, civil litigation and of course law enforcement to explore this possibility and perhaps stop the adult from doing it again to others.

Florida Department of Health disciplines Winter Springs massage therapist for sex offense

The Florida Department of Health disciplines Winter Springs massage therapist

On January 16, 2020, the Florida Department of Health accepted the voluntary relinquishment of Mark Raymond Curley’s license to practice massage therapy in the state of Florida. It is accepted as a resolution to a sexual misconduct complaint from 2017. It will be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank as a disciplinary action. Additionally, Curley agreed to never reapply for a massage therapist license in Florida again. 

Curley was a licensed massage therapist and is the owner at Serenity Center located at 2040 Winter Springs Blvd. in Oviedo, Florida. In January 2017, he was accused of sexual misconduct of a 44-year-old female client. The patient removed her bra for the massage, but kept her underwear on. During the massage, Curley removed the patient’s sheet, exposing the woman’s breasts without her consent. He then proceeded without consent, to inappropriately touch and squeeze her breasts. He applied pressure on her crotch, and put the patient’s nipple in his mouth, flicking it with his tongue. When she objected, he said they had to stay quiet. When the patient left, she called the police. 

The stresses of life can easily overwhelm us. When clients book a massage, it is to decompress and relax. They trust that the massage therapists employed at the spa are carefully vetted and safe. It is unacceptable for any employee to touch a client in a sexual manner.

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at massage parlors and other spas and resorts. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery during a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Subhash Gupta sexual

Florida Health Department Bars Broward County Gastroenterologist From Seeing Female Patients

The Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order restricting gastroenterologist Subhash Gupta after he allegedly inappropriately touched a woman during an emergency room exam.  Dr. Gupta was practicing medicine in Pompano Beach, Florida.  He has been licensed to practice medicine in Florida since 1983.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Dr. Subhash Gupta touched a 58-year-old patient’s breasts without warning or a stethoscope after she came into the emergency room with a diagnosis of abdominal inflammation.  He repeated the same exam on the woman two other times, according to the emergency restriction order. The health department said Dr. Gupta’s exam was outside the scope of practice and was intended for Dr. Gupta’s around or sexual gratification.

Under the restriction order, Dr. Gupta cannot treat female patients.  Public records reveal Dr. Gupta was previously disciplined for performing an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy on a patient without her consent. Additionally, in 1993, Dr. Gupta was disciplined for providing inadequate medical care to seven patients and poor record keeping.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted by a physician or at a doctor’s office or hospital, it is important to have experienced  attorneys. We are experienced in handling cases involving sexual assault by doctors and other medical personnel. If you have a been a victim of sexual assault by a doctor in a hospital or medical office, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com 

Fr. Sal DiStefano – Archdiocese of Newark

Fr. Sal DiStefano

Archdiocese of Newark


Sal DiStefano Horowitz Law

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Sal DiStefano:

In January 2020, the Archdiocese of Newark announced that Fr. Sal DiStefano was suspended from ministry pending investigation of multiple allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.  The Archdiocese did not release any information about the nature of the allegations, such as the age/gender of the alleged victims or the time period during which the abuse is alleged to have occurred.

At the time of his suspension, DiStefano was assigned as chaplain to Oratory Prep School in Summit, New Jersey.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark 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 the Archdiocese of Newark now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Sexual Abuse Victims Don’t All Respond The Same Way and Jurors Need to Know This

Here’s a simple equation none of us learned in school. Many victims + Many crimes = Many responses.

We should keep this in mind as we read about sexual violence, especially now as the Harvey Weinstein trial begins.  Let’s break this down piece by piece.

Somewhere in the US, a woman is raped every 2 minutes (according to the Justice Department).

https://www.wcsap.org/help/about-sexual-assault/how-often-does-it-happen

Every year in the US, almost 3 million cases of child abuse are reported.

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-child-abuse

These crimes are diverse (we don’t need to spell out the variations), happen in all kinds of places (homes, offices, parks, institutions and businesses) all kinds of circumstances (daytime, nighttime, sober, drunk) to all kinds of people (young, old, healthy, ill, successful, less successful).

These two facts – many victims and many crimes – inevitably and logically add up to another fact: that there are as many responses and reactions to abuse and rape as there are victims.  So the notion that there’s a “right” way, or even a “usual” way victims act after having been violated is insulting nonsense. This is why it’s disingenuous – and of course hurtful – when Weinstein’s lawyers claim that his victims weren’t really raped because some of them kept in touch with the Hollywood bigshot afterwards.

https://www.chicagolawbulletin.com/metoo-prosecutors-deploy-experts-early-to-thwart-weinstein-defense-20200121

For example, one of Weinstein’s alleged victims wrote him later “Miss you big guy.”  Another wrote to him later “There is no one else I would enjoy catching up with that understands me quite like you.”

And a Weinstein defender, attorney Donna Rotunno, said that while some women might have regretted having sex with the former producer, “regret sex is not rape.”  “I think a woman who is a victim of rape is going to look at that and say, ‘That’s not what rape victims do.’ If you were really raped, this is not what you do,” she told Vanity Fair magazine, reports the Associated Press.

Baloney.

Consider these cases:

—One might say “Well, if you’d heard people gossip that this coach was too ‘hands on,’ why didn’t you move your kids to another school?”

(Maybe the low income mom can’t afford private school. And has four other kids in the same school who need the stability of staying in one place. And maybe she fears that the only way her kid will be able to attend college is with an athletic scholarship. And after all, it’s just gossip she’s heard, nothing more.)

—One might might say “Well, if the youth pastor seemed to be paying you so much attention and you weren’t comfortable, why didn’t you just pick a different church to attend?”

(Maybe it was a small town with just one Methodist church, the one founded by the teenager’s great grandfather and the one where all her relatives were deeply involved. Maybe she felt like she couldn’t suddenly declare she wanted to start going to the Lutheran church without raising all kinds of awkward questions and pressure from her family.)

—One might might say “Well, if the boss was making you feel creeped out, why didn’t you just quit?”

(Maybe he threatened the woman with termination, demotion, transfer, or even violence. Maybe the young woman’s saddled with debt and an inconsistent work history and loves her job while also feeling trapped in it. Maybe her employer pays for her evening classes and she’s working to get a degree so she can move onto to a safer or more stable career.)

Again, quite simply – many victims, many circumstances, many reactions.

According to the Associated Press, Weinstein’s prosecutors ”are using the very same expert, Dr. Barbara Ziv, (who) was the first prosecution witness at Bill Cosby’s retrial.”

Good for them. Experts can be helpful. Jurors need to be educated about the various and perfectly understandable ways victims of sexual respond to their trauma.

At the same time, however, can’t we all start to use our common sense and accept the simple truth that everyone is different and our responses to violence and exploitation are different too? Can’t we keep the focus where it really belongs – on the behavior of predators before and during their crimes, instead of the behavior of victims afterwards?

Fr. Michael R. Hands – Diocese of Rockville Centre

Father Michael R. Hands

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Ordained: 1993

Removed: 2002

Laicized: 2004

Died: 2018

Assigned as follows:

  • 1993-1998      Our Lady of Lourdes (West Islip, NY) 
  • 1999-2000      St. Philip Neri (Northport, NY) 
  • 2001                St. Raphael (East Meadow, NY)   
  • 2002                Absent on Leave
  • 2003-2017      Easton Mountain Retreat (Greenwich, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Michael R. Hands:

According to media reports, Father Michael R. Hands was removed from ministry in 2002, after he pleaded guilty on two separate charges of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy over a period of a year and a half from 2000 to 2001, and another 12-year-old boy ten years earlier while at St. Raphael. To secure a more lenient sentence, Father Hands became a key witness for the Suffolk County grand jury that investigated how abuse cases were handled in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. 

Father Hands was sentenced to two years in jail in 2003. In an effort to explain his actions, he said that he was sexually abused as a teen by Monsignor Charles “Bud” Ribaudo, during his first three years at Trinity High School in Hicksville, New York. 

In the 2003 Suffolk County Grand Jury report, Father Hands was identified as Priest W. 

His name was listed on the NY Sex Offender Registry until March 2013. In April 2004, he was released from prison, and requested laicization. 

In February 2018, Fr. Hands pleaded guilty on two felony counts of criminal sexual acts for a sexual relationship with an underage teenage boy in Charlton, Florida. The charges included sodomy, sex abuse and using a child in a sexual performance. He was also accused of possession and distribution of child pornography. Later that month, he was found dead in his jail cell after an apparent suicide just days before he was to be sentenced to state prison.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Rockville Centre, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. John Butler – Diocese of Rockville Centre

Father John Robert Butler

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Ordained: 1957

Removed: 2002

Laicized: Unknown

Assigned as follows:

  • 1958               Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Richmond, VA) 
  • 1959-1960      St. Mary’s Star-of-the-Sea (Fort Monroe, VA)
  • 1961                Sr. Peter (Richmond, VA) 
  • 1962-1965      St. Joseph (King’s Park, NY) 
  • 1966                Unknown 
  • 1967-1968      On Duty Outside of Diocese (Richmond, VA) 
  • 1969                Assumption (Keyser, VA) Our Lady of the Valley (mission)  (Petersburg, VA) Our Lady of Grace (mission), (Grace, VA) 
  • 1970                St. Paul (Richmond, VA)
  • 1971-1974      SS Philip and James (Philipsburg, NJ) New Village (mission)  (Philipsburg, NJ) 
  • 1975                St. Barnabas (Bayville, NJ); Our Lady of Victory (mission) (Bayville, NJ)
  • 1976-1978      St. Thomas the Apostle (Old Bridge, NJ)
  • 1979                St. Robert Bellarmine (Freehold, NJ)
  • 1980-1981      Unknown
  • 1982-1984      St. John Vianney (Colonia, NJ)
  • 1985-1986      Unknown
  • 1987-2002      St. John Vianney (Colonia, NJ) 
  • 2003-2016      Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father John Butler:

Father John Butler was ordained for the Diocese of Richmond, Virgina. He also worked in the West Virginia, Rockville Centre, Trenton and Metuchen dioceses. According to media reports, in April 2002, the Diocese of Metuchen removed him from ministry amid allegations that he had “inappropriate conduct with a minor” while he was assigned to St. Joseph’s in Kings Park, New York in the early to mid-1960s. His accuser, who was a choir boy and altar boy, alleged that Father Butler, St. Joseph’s choirmaster, molested more than a dozen other boys. Additionally, he said he had reported the abuse to the Diocese of Rockville Centre when he was a teen, but no action was taken. Father Butler was sent to another parish in Brooklyn, and eventually transferred to New Jersey.

Father Butler also allegedly abused at least one in Metuchen, whose case was resolved in the Metuchen settlement in February 2003.

Father Butler retired in 2002, and was eventually laicized. He died in September 2016.

In February 2019, his name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Richmond’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. A few months later in May, he was named in a lawsuit accusing over 300 church leaders of sexual misconduct in New Jersey. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Rockville Centre, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Monsignor Alan J. Placa – Diocese of Rockville Centre

Monsignor Alan J. Placa 

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Ordained: 1970

Removed: 2002

Reinstated: 2009

Assigned as follows:

  • 1970-1974      St. Patrick (Glen Cove, NY)
  • 1974-1978      St. Pius X Prep Seminary (Uniondale, NY)
  • 1979-1990     Cure of Ars (Merrick, NY) (In residence)
  • 1991-1998     SS. Cyril and Methodius (Deer Park, NY) (In residence)
  • 1999-2017     St. Aloysius (Great Neck, NY)
  • 2001-2002      Catholic Health Services of Long Island (Melville, NY)
  • 2008-2010      Unassigned
  • 2011-2017      Retired

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Monsignor Alan J. Placa:

Monsignor Alan J. Placa, an attorney, was the lawyer for the Whitinsville, Massachusetts House of Affirmation, where priests accused of sexual abuse were sent for psychotherapy. (It has been described as the center of a pedophile sex ring.) Monsignor Placa is childhood friends with former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and worked for his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners. He was the Dean of Students at St. Pius X Prep Seminary in Uniondale, and the vice chancellor and legal counsel of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. He was also the lead on handling child sexual abuse allegations against priests on Long Island. From 1992 to 2002, he worked as part of a three-member “intervention team” to address reports of clergy sexual abuse.

According to media reports, in 2002, he resigned after police investigated allegations of sexually abusing four boys in the 1970s while at St. Patrick and at St. Pius X Prep. He denied all allegations. 

In the 2003 Suffolk County Grand Jury report, Monsignor Placa was identified as Priest F.  The grand jury heard testimony from three alleged victims, two students and an altar boy, who said that a “Priest F” had molested them in the 1970s.

“In Priest F’s case, his conduct was, at first, so equivocal, his victims weren’t really sure it was happening to them – that is, until it happened again and again and again.” The Report continues, “After his first assignment, Priest F was transferred within the Diocese to an assignment outside of parish ministry. It was, however, an assignment that provided a large and continuous source of boys – a school.” Furthermore, it is later stated that “Ironically, Priest F would later become instrumental in the development of Diocesan policy in response to allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests.”

In December 2009, he was fully restored to the status of a retired priest in good standing after a Vatican review found him to be not guilty of the allegations. His current whereabouts are unknown. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Rockville Centre, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Peter Charland – Diocese of Rockville Centre

Father Peter Charland

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Ordained: 1972

Resigned: 1975

Died: 2004

Assigned as follows:

  • 1973-1975      Sts. Peter and James (St. James, NY) 

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Peter Charland:

According to media reports, in February 2018, Father Peter Charland was accused of sexually abusing at least eight children at Sts. Phillips and James in the early 1970s. All survivors were members of the parish’s popular “PJ Folk Singers” that Father Charland led. They filed claims with the Diocese of Rockville’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. One survivor said the abuse started when he was 11, and occurred in the rectory, Father Charland’s car, and on a choir trip to Romania. 

“I certainly thought I was unique. I certainly thought it was wrong, but I didn’t, for whatever reason, think it was appropriate to stand up. That’s something I regret,” he said. 

In 1975, Father Charland left the ministry. He married a woman with three sons, and in 1978, he became licensed as a Certified Social Worker in New York State. He later went on to become a private practice therapist focusing on children with attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities until his death in 2004. He died in 2004. 

In August 2019, Father Charland was accused in a lawsuit filed under the NY Child Victims Act, of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy who attended Sts. Philip and James from 1972 through 1976.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Rockville Centre, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Robert L. Brown – Diocese of Rockville Centre

Father Robert L. Brown

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Ordained: 1957

Died: 1994

Assigned as follows:

  • 1958-1968      St. Agnes Cathedral (Rockville Centre, NY)
  • 1969-1981      St. Mary’s (Manhasset, NY) 
  • 1982-1991      St. Catherine of Sienna (Franklin Square, NY)
  • 1992-1994      St. Christopher (Baldwin, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Robert L. Brown:

According to media reports, in 2014, a man alleged that Father Robert L. Brown sexually abused him as a 16-year-old boy starting in 1981 through 1989, while he was assigned to St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square.  At the time, the survivor often saw Father Brown for guidance. He started to sleep over at the rectory where he reported that Father Brown sexually abused him. The survivor said he told other priests during confession, but no one helped him and no action was taken. In 2018, the survivor was awarded a $500K settlement through the Diocese of Rockville Centre compensation fund. 

In February 2019, a woman alleged that Father Brown, along with Monsignor John McGann (later bishop) and Monsignor Edward Melton repeatedly sexually abused her in the 1960s while he was assigned to St. Agnes Parish.  She said the priests would pass victims around from lap to lap while consuming alcohol. 

In October 2019, the woman and another man filed a lawsuit under the NY Child Victims Act, alleging child sexual abuse by Father Brown. He died in 1994. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Rockville Centre, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.