Tag: Diocese of Syracuse

Syracuse Bishop Doug Lucia sexual abuse

Syracuse Bishop Doug Lucia, Like Other NY Bishops, Still Hides Predators

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of Syracuse Bishop Doug Lucia filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on behalf of the Diocese of Syracuse..

Days before the move,  at least 38 people filed new sex abuse and cover up lawsuits under the New York Child Victims Act.  Now, roughly a year later, some 400 individuals in the Syracuse area have sought justice by filing claims in the bankruptcy court. We commend them for their courage.

https://www.localsyr.com/news/local-news/almost-400-survivors-of-sexual-abuse-file-claims-in-diocese-of-syracuse-case/

Any way you look at it, that’s a staggering number of child sexual abuse victims. But it’s especially staggering when you consider how little the diocese has disclosed about abuse.

Syracuse Bishop Doug Lucia issued a “credibly accused” list that has many of the same omissions and deceptions found in other bishops’ lists, including

–No work histories of the predators.

–No photos of the predators.

–No nuns, brothers, bishops, seminarians, monks, or deacons or lay employees (like teachers or counselors) are identified as molesters.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Syracuse/2018_12_03_Syracuse_List.pdf

One can only imagine how many more victims might have come forward over the last 12 months if Lucia and his colleagues actually practiced the ‘transparency’ that they so often claim they show.

On his site, Syracuse Bishop Doug Lucia also uses perhaps the most insulting word to describe abuse reports: ‘claims.’

Not cases. Not reports. Not disclosures. But ‘claims.’

(We’re attorneys. We realize that in bankruptcy, ‘claims’ is the legally appropriate term to use. That doesn’t mean, however, that Lucia has to use it on his website. He could just as easily say ‘abuse reports’ or ‘abuse disclosures.’)

And of course, with minimal effort, we at Horowitz Law have found several ‘credibly accused’ abusive clerics who spent time in the Syracuse diocese but are NOT on Lucia’s list. Three of them belonged to just one religious order, the Jesuits:

–Fr. Peter Conroy, who led retreats in Syracuse

–Fr. Roy Drake, who was at LeMoyne College in Syracuse

–Fr. Raymond Fullam, also led retreats in Syracuse

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/order_lists/Jesuits_Northeast/2019_01_15_Jesuits_Northeast_Credible_Allegations.pdf#page=7

Also omitted:

–Fr. Henry Clark, who is on the Albuquerque diocese ‘credibly accused’ list and worked in both Syracuse and Utica.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Santa_Fe/2019_03_08_Santa_Fe_List_with_Assignments_190308List_updated190308AssignmentsOFFICIAL.pdf#page=3

–Fr. John Lugowski, who spent time behind bars for sodomizing a ten year old New York boy and admitted to sexual contact with five boys.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/05_06/2007_05_05_Moyer_SexAbuse.htm

Like most Catholic bishops who exploit Chapter 11 to keep church cover ups covered up, Lucia claims he’s not trying to hide anything.

But if that’s the case, why is he hiding names and information about proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics?

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Syracuse in New York. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help.

Fr. Henry Clark – Diocese of Syracuse

Father Henry Clark

Diocese of Syracuse

Henry Clark Horowitz Law

Ordained: Unknown

Died: 1957

Assignment History:

  • Diocese of Syracuse
  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral (Mobile, AL)
  • 1951-1957: St. Anne (Santa Fe, NM)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Henry Clark:

According to Bishop Accountability, Clark Father Henry Clark worked in several churches in the Diocese of Syracuse before assuming duties in Utica, Alabama, and New Mexico.

Fr. Clark is listed on the Diocese of Santa Fe’s 2018 List of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, including when and where the alleged abuse occurred, or the victim’s age/gender, are unknown. Clark died in Albuquerque in 1957 at the age of 56.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Syracuse in New York. The Diocese of Syracuse filed for federal bankruptcy protection in June 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Syracuse may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but you must do so before April 15, 2021.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse will never be able to take any legal action if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Syracuse Diocese sex abuse

Crucial Deadline Approaching in Syracuse For Abuse Survivors

April 15, 2021 is the deadline to file for compensation through the Diocese of Syracuse’s bankruptcy proceedings. Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is responsible for the interests of the Catholic Church in the seven counties of Central and South Central New York State: Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego.  It is estimated that there are nearly one quarter of a million Catholics in this region.

https://www.binghamtonhomepage.com/news/deadline-approaches-for-proofs-of-claim-in-diocese-of-syracuse-chapter-11-case/

But the April 15 deadline will not be the end of the story. Even after April 15, those hurt by Syracuse clerics are still able to expose their predators and protect other kids.

We have identified a shocking 62 clergy and 1 lay teacher who worked in the Diocese of Syracuse who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing minors. In many cases, the perpetrators were merely transferred from parish to parish after allegations arose, and left a long trail of victims across the Diocese of Syracuse.

The Syracuse diocese itself admits 57 such abusive clergy and lists them on its website, as of two years ago.

https://www.syracuse.com/news/2018/12/syracuse_diocese_releases_list_of_abusive_priests.html

About 20 of them are still alive (which means some could still be assaulting children).

All of this prompted us at Horowitz Law to take a closer look at the list of credibly accused abusive clerics on the Syracuse diocese website.

In a nutshell, it’s incomplete and inadequate in many ways. We’ll point out just three simple but significant shortcomings.

–It apparently includes no religious order clerics. Typically, religious order clerics are about 30% of the priests, brothers and monks in any diocese. So right off the bat, the Syracuse list is lacking.

–It also apparently includes no work assignments for the predator priests. Those assignments ARE provided by many other dioceses. And they’re helpful because when parents see that the Fr. Smith who was in their parish is now ‘credibly accused’ of abuse, those parents are more apt to spread the word, warn others about him, and even ask their own kids and friends “Hey, did Fr. Smith ever do anything creepy or hurtful to you?” – a question that can lead to healing, prevention and sometimes even criminal prosecutions and convictions.

–And it apparently includes no appeal to victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police or prosecutors. This omission only helps those who commit or conceal child sex crimes. It also increases the likelihood that if someone DOES know or suspect wrongdoing, they’ll call church figures, not secular authorities. And when church officials are the first to get abuse reports, they have the chance to begin covering them up.

In fact, Syracuse Bishop Douglas Lucia brags on his website that “significant steps have been taken to reach out to victims, involve the laity, partner with law enforcement” in abuse cases. But if that’s true, why won’t he say – prominently and repeatedly – “If you see, suspect or suffer abuse, please call the law.”

To their credit, Syracuse church officials do break down the accused priests into helpful categories.

Among the still-living current and former Syracuse predator priests: Robert Birchmeyer, John Broderick, Edmund Durr, John Harrold, James Hayes, Donald Hebert, Robert Kloster, C. Vincent Lane Jr., William Lorenz, Edward Madore, George Mattice Jr., Chester Misercola, Robert Ours, Joseph Pace, David Pichette, Albert Proud, James A. Quinn, John Wagner and Jerome Weber.

Among the Syracuse priests who were accused of abuse after they passed away: Thomas Bayley, Robert Bogan, Roger Bowan, John Donovan, Luke Gallagher, Bernard Garstka, Donald Gorman, Ferdinand Hattala, Edgar Holihan, Edward Humphrey, William Lynch, John McCarthy, William Morris, John “Jack” Morse, Thomas Neary Jr., Thomas Powell, Edward George Quaid, Francis Sammons, Martin Tracy and David Walker.

Among the Syracuse priests who asked to be defrocked: Albert Cason, Paul Cloonan, Gerard Guli, Joseph Larrabee, Foster Rogers and Michael Volino.

Among the Syracuse priests whose cases were ‘adjudicated’ within church processes and were given some kinds of consequences for their wrongdoing: Thomas Burr, Thomas Corbett, Robert Hammond, William Lum, Vincent Panepinto, David Simon, Francis Vogt, Robert Winterkorn, Paul Schnacky, Eugene Emo, Dennis Sewar and Dennis Shaw.

Finally, among the Syracuse priests who were accused of abuse but church officials claim they haven’t or can’t resolve the accusations: David Gramkee, Robert O’Neill, John Steger and Conrad Sundholm.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Rochester/2018_10_Rochester_Dispositions_2002_to_Present.pdf

Other Catholic dioceses and archdioceses across the country have also filed for bankruptcy,  including Buffalo and Rockville Centre (August 14, 2021 deadlines).

(Similar bankruptcy deadlines are approaching in other nearby dioceses including Camden NJ diocese on June 30).

So if you want to see wrongdoers exposed, crimes prevented, kids safeguarded and victims healed, please spread the word about these deadlines. And if you’re inclined to prod Catholic officials to reform, feel free to begin by pushing Syracuse church hierarchy to be more honest and inclusive with their ‘credibly accused’ predator priest list.

(NOTE – Bishop Lucia is originally from the Ogdensburg diocese where he held several important positions. In 2019, he replaced retiring Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham.)

You Can Help A Sexual Abuse Victim Get REAL Help!

Want to Help a Sexual Abuse Victim in One Simple Way?

It could happen, if you just forward this blog to people you know who are in or grew up in New York & New Jersey.

Relatives, friends, therapists, former classmates. . .literally anyone

The dates below are deadlines by which child sex abuse survivors must speak up if they hope to get compensation from Catholic officials.

Anyone who was abused by any Catholic employee at any time should be aware of these dates:

Diocese of Syracuse – April 15

Diocese Camden – June 30

Diocese of Buffalo – August 14

Diocese of Rockville Centre (Long Island)  – August 14

These four Catholic dioceses have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. So a judge has enabled them to set hard and fast deadlines by which those who were hurt must step forward seeking justice and/or money.

Priests, brothers, nuns, seminarians, monks, bishops, parochial school workers, it likely doesn’t matter exactly who the offender was. What DOES matter is the victim stepping forward before these dates.

And remember, child molesting Catholic clerics don’t always victimize kids in their own church. Maybe it’s a Protestant girl who just happened to live next door to the rectory. Or an agnostic boy who was hired to mow the parish lawn or shovel the parish sidewalk.

So don’t just send this blog to current and former Catholics in those two states. Please send it to EVERYONE you know who are or were in New York and New Jersey.

The process involves, of course, filing some paperwork. It doesn’t require an attorney. But we strongly advise any victim who’s even considering moving ahead at least have a phone call with an independent lawyer, preferably one who’s experienced in dealing with sexual abuse and cover-up cases involving the Catholic Church.

We at Horowitz Law aren’t thrilled by the bankruptcy process.

We aren’t convinced that this is the best way to deal with the hundreds of men and women who were traumatized during childhood.

But it’s happening regardless. And many survivors find it healing to get at least some compensation for their pain and some formal acknowledgement of their suffering.

Our goal at Horowitz Law is to make sure that anyone who needs funds – for therapy, drug treatment or any reason, to compensate for years of difficulty – doesn’t miss this opportunity.

“But I don’t know anyone who was molested by a Catholic cleric,” you may be thinking.

And that makes sense, since most people who were sexually assaulted as kids carry the secret to the grave.

The truth is, however, that you may never know if you know such victims. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spread the word about these opportunities.

And victims can remain publicly anonymous throughout the bankruptcy and beyond. Their names won’t be publicly revealed.

If you want to target your outreach to potential victims, we urge you to think about friends, family and acquaintances who have maybe been addicted, depressed, isolated, imprisoned, divorced, under-employed or shown some other sign of having lived a rocky life. Because no matter how hard a victim tries to ignore or overcome their childhood trauma, it usually manifests itself at some point, often with destructive or self-destructive behavior.

By reaching out to others, by sharing this post, you might just be giving a quietly struggling person a lifeline towards a more healthy and less desperate financial life.

Feinberg Dolan sexual abuse

Clergy Abuse Survivors’ Worst Fears About Compensation Funds May Be Warranted

In recent years, most New York bishops have set up allegedly “independent” payout programs for victims of clergy abuse. The stated intent of the programs was to obtain “reconciliation” and “healing.” The Catholic Dioceses in New York denied accusations that their real goal was to prevent legislation reforming the statute of limitations and litigation that would reveal duplicity by the Catholic hierarchy.

From the start, we at Horowitz Law, along with many victims and advocates, were cautions if not outright skeptical. We feared that these programs had a different purpose: to stop the civil windows lawmakers were pushing that give suffering victims more chance to expose corrupt clergy in court.

“Bishops want to persuade legislators ‘back off, we’re handling this crisis ourselves’,” we said. “There’s no need for legal reforms by outsiders.”

Now, compelling evidence shows we were rightfully skeptical.

According to a leaked transcript obtained by ABC News, the most powerful and prominent US Catholic cleric — New York Cardinal Tim Dolan — believes “negotiated settlements could help counter arguments in favor of the (civil), bolstering the position of the church’s lobbyists that legislation is unnecessary because the reckoning and restitution is already underway.”

https://abcnews.go.com/US/exclusive-leaked-transcript-shows-ny-churchs-attempt-block/story?id=75229253

Consider these comments from the tape:

–“I think the Cardinal feels that it is providing his lawyers in Albany with additional persuasive powers not to reopen the statute – “We are already doing this, why bother? Don’t reopen the statute. We are taking care of our own problem.’ I think that is guiding Cardinal Dolan as well.”

–“We want to be able to show” legislators that victims “are accepting this money. You don’t need to change the statute.”

–The “movement afoot in Albany” was a key reason why Dolan “decided to create a program.”

Who made these troubling admissions?  Ken Feinberg, the allegedly independent arbiter who Dolan picked to run his archdiocesan pay out program.

Feinberg has been hired across the country by Catholic enitities to set up similar programs. Through this call, and likely others, Feinberg apparently successfully convinced the bishops of Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo to follow  Dolan’s lead and establish similar church-controlled (but Feinberg administered) funds.

The transcript also reveals a second goal that Dolan and Feinberg also kept under wraps: saving dioceses money.

In perhaps the most telling comment on the tape, Feinberg says “the fear that if the statute is reopened” settlements will ultimately be much higher. (That’s because in civil lawsuits, victims get ‘discovery’ – church records and witness testimony that typically show how church staff were complicit in a predator’s horrific crimes. That in turn leads to bigger jury awards.)

Feinberg goes on to say “Clearly, the dioceses want (to pay as many victims) $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000, rather than a $1,000,000 or $2,000,000.”

“Right now,” he brags, “we have not paid any claim, however horrific, at more than $500,000.”

Feinberg admits: “The whole point is to get the release, so we offer $10,000. In Buffalo, maybe $5,000.”

ABC notes “Feinberg also appears to have been well aware that alleged victims would feel pressure to accept offers because, prior to the enactment of the Child Victims Act, they had no other legal options.”

“If you don’t take what we are offering, you don’t have to, but what is the alternative?” Feinberg added. “Maybe Albany will change the law, but they haven’t yet.”

This suggests that at a minimum, Feinberg cares more about church officials than wounded victims. At worst, it suggests Feinberg is playing along with Dolan’s deceptions about the intent of the pay out program.

ABC also reports that “When Dolan introduced Feinberg as the administrator of the settlement program, he assured the public that (Feinberg) would have ‘complete autonomy in deciding compensation for victim-survivors.’”

“But throughout the private teleconference, Feinberg displayed a coziness with church leaders, a skepticism toward those coming forward to file claims and, at times, even an apparent distain for some alleged victims.”

On the call, Feinberg’s colleague Camille Biros said, “once we implement the program, it remains an open dialogue with the Diocese (and) are constantly on the phone with church officials.”

ABC reports that these remarks “cast doubt on whether Dolan’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program was truly designed with either independence or reconciliation in mind.”

Adding fuel to the fire, Feinberg promises two benefits of the program. (Spoiler alert: neither are “healing” or “reconciliation.”)

First, it would set up a “a range of possible payouts depending on the severity of the alleged abuse, agreed upon by the program’s administrators AND the dioceses.”

Second, without this program, some of the allegations may resolve on the courthouse steps with a $5,000,000 demand or a $2,000,000 demand,” Feinberg said. In other words, lawsuits will be filed and juries will find punitive damages against church officials who ignored or hid abuse reports.

What a cynical ploy.

Publicly tell parishioners, politicians and the press one thing – this is about healing – and admit privately that it’s really a lobbying and cost-saving tool.

Publicly claim you’re independent. Privately assure potential client that you won’t be.

It’s worth noting that both Dolan and Feinberg have been criticized in this regard as far back as 2016, when the Survivors Network blasted both men:

“Cardinal Tim Dolan’s unilateral, top-down victim pay-off program has barely begun. Yet the man Dolan picked to head it is already insulting and blaming victims. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/17/opinion/victims-of-priests-abuse-face-a-choice.html

Kenneth Feinberg told the New York Times that victims tend to be “procrastinators.” At best, that’s stupid. At worst, it’s hurtful. Both he and Dolan should apologize. And they should drop their insensitive, arbitrary and self-serving deadline which forces still-suffering victims to move quickly to deal with decades of pain or else be left out in the cold again.

If kids are to be safer, adults must make it easier, not harder, for victims to report sexual violence. Dolan’s selfish deadline and Feinberg’s callous comments are making it harder.

If victims are to be healed, adults must welcome their disclosures and respond to their suffering whenever victims are strong enough to step forward. Dolan and Feinberg must put the needs of deeply wounded victims ahead of their own convenience.”

Six months later, SNAP asked to sit down with Dolan and Feinberg in an effort to cooperate (apparently with no success):

“Without clear guidelines, survivor input, accountability from the diocese, and the release of evidence, many survivors fear that payouts administered by your office will be little more than ‘hush money.’”

https://www.snapnetwork.org/ny_victims_to_dolan_s_fund_manager_let_us_work_with_you

And many wonder why many abuse victims distrust the church and these programs!

Syracuse Diocese Bankruptcy Filing Deadline Set for April 15

During a hearing held on Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Diocese of Syracuse’s bankruptcy case, Chief Judge Margaret Cangilos-Ruiz of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of New York ruled that sexual abuse survivors have until April 15, 2021, to file their sexual abuse claims against the Diocese of Syracuse.

Contrary to what some might think, a bankruptcy filing does not mean the Syracuse Diocese is broke: it means the Diocese is asking for the Bankruptcy Court for help resolve the rest of the sexual abuse claims against it so it may continue to operate.  Its assets will be allocated among all of its creditors, including an unknown number of sexual abuse claimants, known and unknown.

Bankruptcy is also a means by which a Catholic Diocese can continue to protect itself and its secrets, and, for that reason it is often criticized by survivor advocates and attorneys.  The Diocese of Syracuse might have to publicize any priest personnel files as part of this process,

The April 15 filing deadline is also referred to as a “bar date” in bankruptcy law.  It is a strict, non-negotiable deadline by which all existing claims must be filed against the Diocese of Syracuse or claimants will be forever barred from seeking relief in the future.

For survivors of sexual abuse by anyone employed by the Diocese of Syracuse such as a priest, teacher, sacristan, deacon, or lay volunteer, this likely means that even though New York lawmakers extended the statute of limitations window to August 12, 2021, your claim will be forever barred on April 15, 2021.  That makes it critically important for anyone who was victimized by a Syracuse Diocese employee to contact competent counsel as soon as possible to discuss your options: the fact is that you probably won’t have any options after April 15.

While the exact class of persons who can file a claim in the bankruptcy is not yet defined, it is expected that those sexually assaulted by Diocese employees as an adult, as well as the estates of deceased victims, will be able to file claims.

The April 15 deadline is a strict filing deadline set by the Court and will not likely be extended by the Court for any reason.  Therefore, you should contact us immediately for a free and confidential consultation about your legal options as a survivor of abuse in the Syracuse Diocese.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse and throughout New York State.  The Diocese of Syracuse filed for federal bankruptcy protection in June 2020.  Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Syracuse may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines have been set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse will never be able to take against against the Diocese of Syracuse if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.   Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Fr. James C. Hayes – Syracuse Diocese

Father James C. Hayes

Diocese of Syracuse

Ordained: 1965

Removed: 2002 

Assigned as follows:

  • 1966 – 1967       St. Mary (Binghamton, NY) 
  • 1968 – 1969       Faculty House (Binghamton, NY)
  • 1970 – 1972       Unknown
  • 1973                  St. Louis (Oswego, NY)
  • 1974                  St. John the Evangelist (Oswego, NY)
  • 1974 – 1976       Oswego Catholic High School (Oswego, NY)
  • 1977                  Oswego City School District (Oswego , NY)
  • 1977 – 1978       Bishop Cunningham Catholic High School (Oswego, NY)
  • 1978 – 1984       St. Anne and St. John (North Bay, NY)
  • 1979 – 1981       Ecclesiastical Attorneys
  • 1984                  Diocesan Pastoral Council – Northern Region
  • 1984                  Priests’ Senate
  • 1985 – 1988       St. John the Baptist (Syracuse, NY)
  • 1989                  Diocesan Cabinet – Northern Region
  • 1989 – 1990       Board of Diocesan Consultors
  • 1989 – 1991       Holy Family (Fulton, NY)
  • 1992 – 2002       Community General Hospital (Syracuse, NY) 
  • 1993 – 2003       St. Michael (Onondaga Hill, NY) 
  • 1997 – 2003       Special assignment
  • 1998 – 2002       Our Lady of Good Counsel (Warners, NY)
  • 2003 – 2018       Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father James C. Hayes:

According to media reports, in June 2002, Father James C. Hayes was removed from his parish assignment as Community General Hospital Chaplain after allegations resurfaced about “inappropriate behavior” years previously, and after three victims filed lawsuits. He had been serving as a hospital chaplain since 1991.

One incident was first reported in 1990 and Father Hayes was sent to St. Luke’s for treatment. The Diocese of Syracuse confirmed that Father Hayes remained active after a person came forward about the abuse.

In 2003, the Diocese stated that Father Hayes had been permanently removed from ministry due to credible allegations of child sexual abuse.

Father Hays’ name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Syracuse’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, published in December 2018.  It released almost no information on the allegations against each priest, including age/gender of the victims, or the priest’s assignment at the time of the alleged abuse.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Syracuse in New York.  The Diocese of Syracuse filed for federal bankruptcy protection in June 2020.  Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Syracuse may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse will never be able to take any legal action if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Syracuse Diocese sex abuse

We Find the Diocese of Syracuse’s ‘Reasons’ For its Bankruptcy Hard to Believe

Always wanted to read Alice in Wonderland but never gotten around to it? Here’s another idea.

Try reading why the Syracuse Catholic diocese claims it is ‘bankrupt.’

Sound weird? Well, believe us, some of its claims are fascinating/

Sound daunting? Well, some of the MOST fascinating parts are just a few paragraphs long.

And if it didn’t deal with the awful and largely preventable crisis of kids being assaulted by clergy, it could even be considered somewhat laughable.

Earlier this month, Syracuse Bishop Doug Lucia basically stonewalled dozens of clergy sex abuse victims who need and deserve healing and justice by stopping their lawsuits, exploiting Chapter 11 protection and going into bankruptcy court.

https://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/2020/06/19/catholic-church-sex-abuse-syracuse-diocese-files-bankruptcy/3221915001/

In our view, it’s a selfish decision. It’s designed to primarily protect NOT the child molesting clerics, but the clerics who saw, suspected, knew about and ignored or concealed literally thousands of crimes against kids.

It achieves this goal by preventing lawsuits, discovery, depositions and other disclosures that would show how much Syracuse Catholic officials knew about abuse, how little they did to stop it and how much they did to hide it.

But never mind our view. Listen to them. Check out these ‘reasons’ Syracuse church officials give, for claiming bankruptcy. (These quotes come from the formal “The Declaration of Rev. Msgr. Timothy Elmer,” a high-ranking diocesan staffer.)

The diocese is bankrupt, it says, because it has “limited resources.”

Sounds reasonable, until you factor in all the insurance coverage the diocese has paid perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars for over decades. And all the physical property it owns. And all the weekly donations it brings in. And the wealth of other Catholic dioceses and institutions, even the Vatican, that could be shared to help victims of abuse.

(By the way, do you know anyone or anything that doesn’t have ‘limited resources?’)

The diocese is in bankruptcy court, it says, “in order to provide the greatest recovery for the greatest number of victims.”

Really? Seriously? Does anyone believe that Bishop Lucia gets up each morning and says “My number one goal is to get and then give out the most amount of money to the most victims of pedophile priests? And if that’s really the goal, could someone please explain when and how this dramatic reversal happened? Because for decades, Catholic officials in Syracuse behaved just like their colleagues elsewhere: denying wrongdoing, exploiting technicalities, hiring spin doctors, stone-walling lawsuits, attacking victims and on and on and on. . .

The diocese is bankrupt, it also says, because it “cannot allow any single (victim) to recover a disproportionate share of the limited funds simply because the plaintiff’s case goes to trial first.”

Sounds reasonable, until you remember who started this whole mess. It wasn’t victims. It was church officials. And now church officials insist that THEY get to dole our dollars, not the time-tested US court system and unbiased US jurors.

The diocese is bankrupt, it also says, because it “cannot ignore the valid claims of other creditors who stand on equal footing with (child sex abuse victims). . .”

Really? Bishop Lucia is claiming he’s got the same obligation to the local hardware store owner (who is owed maybe $500 for light bulbs the diocese bought) that he’s got to a woman who may have been raped dozens of times by a prominent priest?”

The diocese claims other reasons it is supposedly bankrupt, but the bulk of Elmer’s declaration is all about how sorry it is, how it made mistakes in the past, how it doesn’t want to “deny any person a day in court” (though that’s precisely what it’s doing).

But if all of Catholic officials say here is true, how can they explain the final paragraph of Elmer’s declaration? In it, he argues that “a swift exit from bankruptcy is of the utmost importance.”  Guess why.

Because victims are hurting, maybe even suicidal? Nope.

Because some of the pedophiles might still be on the church payroll? Nope.

Because some of the predators might be raping kids even now,  because they’re still living and working among unsuspecting neighbors, friends, colleagues and families? Nope.

Because Catholics are leaving the church and the political influence of its officials is waning? Nope.

Rather, the “swift exit” from bankruptcy is of “utmost importance,” Elmer says, for church finances.

He’s not that honest, of course. He’s more savvy in his wording. Elmer wants out of bankruptcy quickly, he says, because the diocese is “dependent upon the charity of its faithful” and bankruptcy “may cast a shadow upon the diocese.”

In other words, “the sooner we can pretend all this abuse and cover up are over, the sooner the big bucks will start rolling back to us.”

Ah yes! We forgot for a minute. The financial good of the institution ALWAYS comes first.

We should be grateful, we suppose, that a few kernels of truth managed to find their way into an otherwise beyond-the-pale legal document that makes Alice in Wonderland seem almost boring.

Fr. Joseph M. Ploeckl – Diocese of Syracuse

Father Joseph M. Ploeckl

Diocese of SyracuseJoseph M. Ploeckl

Ordained: Unknown

Dead: 1995

Assignment History:

  • 1970s: St. Mary (Utica, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Joseph M. Ploeckl:

The Diocese of Syracuse filed for bankruptcy on June 19, 2020, due to over 40 child sex abuse lawsuits that keep surfacing. Among the names listed was Fr. Joseph M. Ploeckl of Utica, NY. Fr. Ploeckl was accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1970 to 1971 at St. Mary in Utica, NY. Fr. Ploeckl died in 1995, 25 years before allegations surfaced.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Syracuse in New York.  The Diocese of Syracuse filed for federal bankruptcy protection in June 2020.  Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Syracuse may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse will never be able to take any legal action if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help. 

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

James Francis Purtell – Diocese of Syracuse

James Francis Purtell

Diocese of Syracuse/Lay Teacher

Assignment History:

1970s-1980s: St. John the Evangelist (Binghamton, NY)

1970s-1980s: Seton Catholic Central (Binghamton, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against James Francis Purtell:

James Francis Purtell has recently been accused of sexually abusing two children at St. John the Evangelist and Seton Catholic Central in Binghamton, NY. One victim was allegedly abused from 1979 to 1984, and another from approximately 1977 to 1982. Purtell taught at both schools, and both children were his students. He is believed to be still residing in the Binghamton area.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Syracuse in New York.  The Diocese of Syracuse filed for federal bankruptcy protection in June 2020.  Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Syracuse may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse will never be able to take any legal action if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help. 

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