A Boston attorney was in Rochester on Wednesday morning to announce that his firm is representing a group of people who say they were sexually abused by priests in the Rochester Catholic Diocese during a period of time from 1950 to 1978.
The lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, who has been prominent for representing victims of sexual abuse by priests and was depicted in the movie Spotlight, is making allegations against eight priests. Garabedian says the alleged victims are now between the ages of 52 and 77.
The eight priests the allegations are being made against are:
Fr. G. Stuart Hogan
Fr. Charles J. McCarthy
Fr. Gary P. Shaw
Fr. Richard J. Orlando
Fr. Thomas J. Valenti
Fr. Eugene Emo
Fr. David P. Simon
Fr. Francis H. Vogt
Allegations previously were made against three of those priests: Emo, Simon and Vogt. The others were accused of abuse publicly for the first time.
Joining Garabedian at the news conference in front of Sacred Heart Cathedral today was Robert Hoatson, who heads up Road To Recovery, an organization that helps victims of sexual abuse.
He called for the Rochester Diocese to be more transparent in how it has been dealing with these priests.
"With resources, with finances, with all of the resources they need to make the truth evident and available and to help people heal, and it takes 17 courageous victims to bring us to the steps of this cathedral in order for us to get the truth out."
Of the 17 alleged victims, Garabedian says 15 are men and two are women. (A statement from the Rochester Catholic Diocese is at the end of this story.)
James Faluszcak is a former priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, and a survivor of clergy sexual abuse:
Garabedian says canon law states that matters of sexual abuse are to be kept secret, but Bishop Salvatore Matano has access to those so-called “secret files:"
The Rochester Catholic Diocese on Wednesday released this statement and a list of initiatives that it has to prevent abuse and create a safe environment.
The Diocese also says it has been in correspondence for several months with the Garabedian law firm regarding the people named on Wednesday and has invited participation in a "process of investigation and resolution." But the Diocese says it has received little or no response. Garabedian responded to that statement by saying, "The Diocese should immediately end the coverup and be transparent by publicly releasing all documents involving clergy sexual abuse so that victims can try to heal."