Tag: New York Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Judge Orders Secret New York Archdiocese Files Must Be Turned Over to Victims’ Attorneys

New York Archdiocese Horowitz Law

The Court’s ruling pertains to 21 lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese and three other defendants for the sexual abuse of kids by Edwin “Ted” Gaynor, a former teacher and coach at several local grammar schools.

This week, a Westchester County judge ordered the Archdiocese of New York and three of its Catholic grammar schools to turn over documents requested by attorneys for the alleged victims of Edwin “Ted” Gaynor.  

At least 21 people have accused Gaynor of sexually abusing them as children in lawsuits filed since the Child Victims Act statute of limitations window opened in 2019.  The plaintiffs say they were abused between the 1950s and the 1980s.  Gaynor worked as a teacher and coach at multiple Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of New York, including Immaculate Heart of Mary (Scarsdale), St. Bernard (White Plains), and Holy Rosary (Hawthorne).  

The latest court ruling comes in response to the plaintiffs’ routine requests for documents pertaining to Gaynor’s history in the Archdiocese of New York, and, more specifically, what it and the other defendants may have known about the likelihood that he might sexually abuse the kids he encountered through work. The Archdiocese and the other defendants fought to keep the documents secret, arguing there is no relevant evidence in their files.   

This part of a court case is often referred to as the “discovery” phase of a lawsuit, during which the attorneys for both sides obtain information and evidence relating to the case.  In this case, the documents are important to establishing the defendants’ negligence in the employment and supervision of Gaynor and the children entrusted to his care.  Lawyers for the Archdiocese of New York claim that Gaynor was solely responsible for the four decades of abuse, and that Archdiocese officials were unaware of any abuse until the lawsuits were filed.  These documents are important to plaintiffs’ attorneys because they help show what the Archdiocese knew, or should have known, about the dangers (or, conversely, what officials did not know). 

This ruling represents a victory for Gaynors’ accusers, who not only require the documents to proceed with their lawsuits, but who may also be able to shed light on any of the Archdiocese’s efforts to conceal abuse allegations and endanger the general public through secrecy.  This was a battle well-fought and a well-deserved victory for survivors.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of New York.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest or other Catholic clergy in New York State, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of New York 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 York and nationwide. We can help.

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

 

Fr. Basil Akut – Archdiocese of New York

Father Basil Akut

Archdiocese of New York

Basil Akut Horowitz Law

Assignment History:

  • Our Lady Star of the Sea (Staten Island, NY)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Basil Akut:

In March 2021, another Staten Island priest was accused of sexual abuse in a lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan against New York’s Archdiocese. According to media reports, in 2015, Fr. Basil Akut began weekly counseling to a recently divorced woman when working at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church. Over four years, Akut showered the woman with compliments, text, and calls and would spend “an inordinate amount of time” with her, the court documents claim.

In January of 2018 things escalated when Akut confessed he was in love with the woman. Akut told her that he loved her and fantasized about her sexually, the suit alleges. It stated that Akut told the victim he thinks about her naked and wanted to touch and kiss her.

In mid-October 2018, during one of their weekly counseling sessions, Akut forced a kiss on her while pushing her against a counter, the court documents claim. On another occasion, the victim took a sleeping pill to help with her insomnia, and Akut called her to come to the rectory. When she did, Akut groped her, kissed her, and sexually abused her. The lawsuit says Akut held the victim’s hands behind her back and raped her. Since the abuse, the victim suffers from vivid nightmares, guilt, shame, and embarrassment, the suit claims.

In March 2021, the advocacy group, SNAP, is calling upon the Archbishop of New York to remove Akut from ministry at Our Lady Star of the Sea R.C.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of New York. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest or other Catholic clergy in New York State, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of New York 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 York and nationwide. We can help.

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

COMPENSATION FUND AVAILABLE FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE BY DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN CLERGY

The Diocese of Brooklyn has announced a program to allow victims of sexual abuse by its clergy to apply for compensation from the church — even for abuse claims that are decades old.

The Diocese of Brooklyn encompasses parishes in Brooklyn and Queens wherein 1.5 million people identify themselves as Catholic.  According to the Diocese, it has 186 parishes and 211 churches, plus dozens of elementary schools and over 27,000 students.

The Diocese’s program mirrors the program previously announced by the Archdiocese of New York.  It will be administered by Camille Biros and Kenneth Feinberg, who ran the federal Sept. 11 victims fund.  The administrators will have the authority to determine who is eligible for compensation and how much is awarded, church officials said.  For years, victims’ groups and some state lawmakers have pressed for legislation in New York that would lift the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases to permit lawsuits by more victims. New York currently has among the most restrictive laws for victims in the nation, requiring that they bring criminal or civil charges by the time they turn 23.  The church has actively lobbied against the bill, known as the Child Victims Act, which applies not just to priests, but to anyone who sexually abuses a child.   According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the compensation program gives victims a measure of justice and closure.  It also limits the potential for future litigation, critics say.

Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing claims on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse by someone affiliated with the Diocese of Brooklyn, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100 to learn if you are eligible for compensation.