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Clergy Abuse in New York

New York State, along with the rest of the nation, has found itself in the midst of a clergy sex abuse scandal. The New York Catholic Dioceses, state lawmakers and victim advocates are taking steps to seek justice for victims and prevent further abuse.

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New York Sexual Assault Legislation

In 2002, the Boston Globe exposed a national epidemic of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. In 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified 1,000 victims of approximately 300 abusive clergy members. These two events were catalysts for legislative change in many states. New York was one of these states.

New York Child Victims Act (CVA)

In February 2019, New York lawmakers signed the Child Victims Act (CVA) into law. This act expands legal protections for victims of sexual assault. It does this in three significant ways:

  1. The CVA extends the legal deadline to file criminal and civil charges against a sexual abuser.
  2. The CVA created a one-year “look back” window during which any victim can file a civil claim against his or her abuser.  A victim can file a claim regardless of his or her age at the time of abuse.
  3. The CVA allows victims to file a lawsuit without filing a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor.

Update: Because of the current COVID-19 measures in New York State, state courts are closed for all non-essential cases. This court closure has hindered the legal rights of abuse survivors.

In-process cases have been postponed. Victims looking to file a new case during the CVA’s ‘look back” window have not been able to file new lawsuits during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

These barriers to litigation have been removed for victims of abuse in New York State. On May 8, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that victims of child sexual abuse will have 5 additional months to file civil claims through the CVA’s legal “look back” window.

Several weeks later, on May 26, 2020, New York State lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly approved legislation to extend the “look back” window further. The new legislation would extend the “look back” window a full year. Governor Cuomo is reviewing the legislation. If he signs the legislation into law, child sex abuse victims will have until August 2021 to file a civil claim.

New York Priest Abuse Lawsuits

It can take years for a survivor of child sexual abuse to report the crime and seek justice. Some survivors need decades to process the trauma before taking legal action. Often, these survivors lose their right to file a lawsuit because they miss the legal deadline.

When New York opened the one-year “look back” window, victims filed more than 400 lawsuits on the first day. Many of these cases featured decades-old instances of abuse. One diocese facing a large number of lawsuits thanks to the “look back” window is the Buffalo Diocese.

Lawsuits Against the Buffalo Diocese

The Buffalo Diocese — one of eight Catholic dioceses in the state of New York — is facing more than 200 lawsuits. It is currently the most sued diocese under the CVA, despite not being the largest diocese in the state.

The larger number of lawsuits filed against the Buffalo Diocese is due in part to the limited success of the diocese’s compensation program. Other New York Dioceses compensated hundreds of victims prior to the CVA. The compensation program in the Buffalo Diocese settled far fewer cases:

  • The Buffalo Diocese paid $17.5 million to approximately 100 victims through the compensation program.
  • 17 victims rejected the offered compensation, allegedly because the proposed claim was too low.
  • 135 victims were turned away from the program due to ineligibility. The compensation program only accepted claims if the victim complained to the Buffalo Diocese about the abuse before March 1, 2018.

Victims who accepted compensation through these programs give up their right to file a lawsuit against the dioceses in the future. Dioceses across the country used compensation programs to decrease the number of costly lawsuits brought against them.

New York Clergy Abuse Statute of Limitations

The state of New York has two different statutes of limitations for survivors of sexual assault. There is a different statute for filing criminal charges versus a civil claim.

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a legal deadline. SOLs are determined at the state level and vary based on the crime.

Criminal Charges and the Child Victims Act

There are two types of criminal charges. Depending on the severity of the crime, sexual abuse may be a felony or a misdemeanor. The CVA adopted two different criminal statutes based on the severity of the crime.

FelonyFelony charges against an abuser can be filed anytime until the victim turns 28 years old. Before the CVA was enacted, criminal felony charges couldn’t be filed after a victim reached 23 years of age.

MisdemeanorMisdemeanor charges must be filed before the victim reaches the age of 25. Prior to the CVA, misdemeanor charges were only valid until a victim reached 20 years of age.

If a victim reports abuse to law enforcement, state prosecutors may choose to press criminal charges against the abuser.

Civil Claims and the Child Victims Act

Survivors of child sexual assault may file a civil claim anytime until they reach the age of 55. Prior to the CVA, survivors had to file a civil claim before turning 23.

What Is the Difference Between a Criminal Case and Civil Lawsuit?

If the abuser (defendant) is found guilty in a criminal case, he or she may face probation or time in prison. The victim (plaintiff) would only receive money if the court requires the defendant to pay restitution to the plaintiff.

If the abuser (defendant) is found liable in a civil case, he or she must pay a monetary award to the victim (plaintiff). The amount of the award is determined by the jury. The award covers any damages caused by the abuse.

Legal “Look Back” Window

Apart from extending the legal deadline to file claims, the CVA opened a one-year “look back” window. Anyone in the state of New York who was sexually abused as a child may file a claim during the year. This includes victims with older, expired cases who would otherwise be unable to file a lawsuit, even according to the newer statutes.

The one-year window opened on August 14, 2019. The window was originally scheduled to close on August 13, 2020. However, due to court closures caused by COVID-19, Governor Cuomo announced a five-month extension for the window. Survivors of abuse have until January 14, 2021, to file claims through the “look back” window of the CVA.

New York Dioceses Settlements & Compensation Programs

In an effort to compensate victims and avoid costly lawsuits, the Catholic Dioceses of New York each created a victim compensation program. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, in just two years, these programs resolved more than 1,260 claims of sexual misconduct across the state of New York. The programs paid more $228 million in compensation to settle these claims.

The majority of these programs are no longer taking claims. However, if a victim was abused by a Catholic clergy member in the New York Dioceses, he or she may file a lawsuit under the CVA.

Archdiocese of New York

The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) for the New York Archdiocese is no longer accepting new claims. However, victims may still be able to file a lawsuit under the CVA.

The Archdiocese of New York opened its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) in October 2016. The program stopped taking claims in April 2018.

Throughout the course of the program’s lifetime, the archdiocese paid $64 million to settle more than 300 claims of priest abuse.

Diocese of Albany

In 2004, the Diocese of Albany created the Independent Mediation Assistance Program (IMAP). The program was the first victim compensation program among the New York Dioceses and one of the first in the country. The program lasted two years and paid nearly $3 million to settle 40 compensation claims.

However, the IMAP has been heavily criticized. Many claim the program was run by the diocese rather than through an outside mediator. Critics also believe the program did not compensate all possible victims. As the number of compensation programs have grown in the New York Dioceses, critics and advocates have called for the Albany Diocese to open another program.

Diocese of Brooklyn

The IRCP for the Brooklyn Diocese is no longer accepting new claims. However, victims may still be able to file a lawsuit under the CVA.

The IRCP for the Diocese of Brooklyn opened in June 2017. The program stopped taking claims in April 2018.

The Diocese of Brooklyn has paid more than $90 million in settlements through the program.

Diocese of Buffalo

The IRCP for the Buffalo Diocese is no longer accepting new claims. However, victims may still be able to file a lawsuit under the CVA.

On March 1, 2018, the Diocese of Buffalo opened its IRCP. The deadline to file a claim for the program ended on June 1, 2018. This program only compensated victims who filed a claim with the diocese prior to March 1, 2018.

The program paid $17.5 million to more than 100 victims of clergy abuse in the diocese.

Diocese of Ogdensburg

The IRCP for the Ogdensburg Diocese is no longer accepting new claims. However, victims may still be able to file a lawsuit under the CVA.

The Diocese of Ogdensburg announced its IRCP in March 2018. Similar to the Buffalo Diocese’s program, to be eligible for the Ogdensburg program, claimants had to have filed a report of abuse prior to March 1, 2018.

The Diocese of Ogdensburg paid $5.5 million to settle 39 claims.

Diocese of Rochester

The IRCP for the Rochester Diocese is no longer accepting new claims. However, victims may still be able to file a lawsuit under the CVA.

The Rochester Diocese opened its IRCP later than most other New York Dioceses. It also abruptly ended its IRCP in March 2019, after working with roughly 30 victims. The diocese claims it ended the compensation program following the passage of the CVA.

Diocese of Rockville Centre

The IRCP for the Rockville Centre Diocese is no longer accepting new claims. However, victims may still be able to file a lawsuit under the CVA.

The IRCP for the Diocese of Rockville Centre opened on October 16, 2017. Registration for the IRCP ended February 29, 2020.

Diocese of Syracuse

The IRCP for the Syracuse Diocese is no longer accepting new claims. However, victims may still be able to file a lawsuit under the CVA.

The IRCP for the Diocese of Syracuse opened in February 2018. Throughout the course of a year, the diocese paid more than $11 million to 79 victims of sexual abuse.

New York Dioceses Bankruptcies

Shortly after lawmakers passed the CVA, the Diocese of Rochester filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In late February 2020, the Diocese of Buffalo also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In June 2020, the Diocese of Syracuse filed for bankruptcy to handle the numerous lawsuits filed against it.

Because of a growing number of sexual abuse lawsuits, the dioceses owed more money than their assets were worth.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used to protect businesses that are struggling financially. The process evaluates and reorganizes a business’ assets. In doing so, a business can pay off debts while maintaining enough capital to continue functioning properly.

These New York Dioceses are three of more than twenty dioceses or religious orders that have filed for bankruptcy in the United States.

The Diocese of Ogdensburg is currently considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to a large number of pending abuse lawsuits and budgetary issues.

List of Priests Accused of Abuse in NY

This list includes the names of clergy members and New York priests accused of abuse. It does not include staff members, volunteers or congregation members accused of abuse in the New York Dioceses.

If you do not see the name you’re looking for, it does not mean you can’t file a claim against your abuser. This list will expand as more cases of abuse are discovered. If you believe the catholic priest you are searching for may have abuse allegations against him in another state, use our nationwide searchable database of accused clergy members.

If you or a loved one has been abused by a catholic priest or clergy member in the state of New York, contact us now about your legal rights. We want to hear from you and help you obtain the justice you deserve.


There are 183 accused clergy members from the Archdiocese of New York, NY:




There are 142 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Brooklyn, NY:



There are 116 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Buffalo, NY:





There are 80 accused clergy members from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY:


New York Clergy Abuse Victim Resources

There are helpful resources and organizations all across the state of New York for victims of sexual assault. We’ve compiled information about several statewide programs below.

New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA)

NYSCASA is a non-profit group of community-based rape crisis programs. The NYSCASA can connect victims of sexual assault with local resources throughout the state of New York. These NYSCASA-sponsored programs offer support and advocacy resources to victims of sexual assault. To find your local rape crisis program, visit our table below:

New York Sexual Violence Programs by County

CountyFacility NamePhone Number(s)
Albany
Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence CenterHotline: 518-447-7716
Office: 518-447-7100
AlleganyCattaraugus Community Action, Inc.Hotline: 888-945-3970
Office: 716-945-1041
BronxKingsbridge Heights Community CenterOffice: 718-884-0700 ext. 100
BronxBronx District Attorney’s Office
Crime Victims Assistance Unit
Hotline: 800-862-2637
Office: 718-590-2114
BronxBronx Child Advocacy
CenterSafe Horizon
Hotline: 1-800-621-SAFE (4673)
BroomeCrime Victims Assistance Center, Inc.Hotline: 607-722-4256
Office: 607-723-3200
CattaraugusCattaraugus Community Action, Inc.Hotline: 888-945-3970
Office: 716-945-1041
CayugaCayuga Counseling ServicesHotline: 315-252-2112
Office: 315-253-9795
ChautauquaRape Crisis Services
The Salvation Army
Hotline: 800-252-8748
Office: 716-661-3897
ChemungSexual Assault Resource Center (SARC)
Planned Parenthood
Hotline: 888-810-0093
ChenangoLiberty Resources
Help Restore Hope Center
Hotline: 855-966-9723
Office: 607-334-7779
ClintonSexual Assault Services (SAS)
Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York, Inc.
Hotline: 1-877-212-2323
Office: 518-561-4430
ColumbiaThe REACH CenterMental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, Inc.Hotline: 518-828-5556
Office: 518-828-4619
CortlandYWCA Aid to Victims of ViolenceHotline: 1-800-336-9622
Hotline: 607-756-6363

Office: 607-753-3639
DelawareSAFE Against Violence
Delaware Opportunities Inc.
Hotline: 1-866-457-7233
Hotline: 607-746-6278

Office: 607-746-1720
DutchessVictim Services
Family Services, Inc.
Hotline: 845-452-7272
Office: 845-452-1110
ErieCrisis Services, Inc.Hotline: 716-834-3131
EssexSexual Assault Services (SAS)
Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York, Inc.
Hotline: 1-877-212-2323
Office: 518-561-4430
FranklinSexual Assault Services (SAS)
Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York, Inc.
Hotline: 1-877-212-2323
Office: 518-561-4430
FultonSexual Assault Support Services
Planned Parenthood Mohawk-Hudson
Hotline: 1-866-307-4086
GeneseeRESTORE Sexual Assault ServicesHotline: 1-800-527-1757
GreeneThe REACH CenterMental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, Inc.Hotline: 518-828-5556
Office: 518-943-4482
HamiltonSexual Assault Support Services
Planned Parenthood Mohawk-Hudson
Hotline: 1-866-307-4086
HerkimerChild Advocacy Center (CAC) of Herkimer CountyYWCA Mohawk ValleyHotline: 315-866-4120
Office: 315-895-0349
JeffersonVictims Assistance Center of Jefferson CountyHotline: 315-782-1855
Office: 315-782-1823
KingsCrime Victims Treatment CenterOffice: 212-523-4728
KingsBrooklyn Child Advocacy Center
Safe Horizon
Hotline: 1-800-621-SAFE (4673)
KingsCAMBA, Inc.Hotline: 800-310-2449
LewisLewis County Opportunities, Inc.Hotline: 315-376-HELP (4357)
Office: 315-376-8202 ext. 4
LivingstonRESTORE Sexual Assault ServicesHotline: 1-800-527-1757
MadisonLiberty Resources
Help Restore Hope Center
Hotline: 855-966-9723
Office: 607-334-7779
MonroeRESTORE Sexual Assault ServicesHotline: 1-585-546-2777
MontgomerySexual Assault Support Services
Planned Parenthood Mohawk-Hudson
Hotline: 1-866-307-4086
NassauThe Safe Center LI, Inc.Hotline: 516-542-0404
Office: 516-465-4700
New YorkCrime Victims Treatment CenterOffice: 212-523-4728
New YorkNYC Alliance Against Sexual AssaultHotline: 212-514-SAFE (7233)
Office: 212-229-0345
New YorkVictim Services
Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Office: 212-420-5632
New YorkSexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program (SAVI)
Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Office: 212-423-2140
New YorkNew York City Anti-Violence ProjectHotline: 212-714-1141
NiagaraYWCA of NiagaraHotline: 716-433-6716
OneidaYWCA of the Mohawk ValleyHotline: 315-797-7740
OnondagaVera HouseHotline: 315-468-3260
Office: 315-425-0818
OntarioSafe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc.Hotline: 1-800-247-7273
Office: 315-781-1093
OrangeMental Health Association of Orange County, Inc.Hotline: 800-832-1200
OrleansRESTORE Sexual Assault ServicesHotline: 1-800-527-1757
OswegoOswego County Opportunities, Inc.Hotline: 315-342-1600
Office: 315-342-7532
OtsegoViolence Intervention Program
Opportunities for Otsego, Inc.
Hotline: 607-432-4855
Office: 607-433-8038
PutnamPutnam-Northern Westchester
Women’s Resource Center
Hotline: 845-628-2166
Office: 845-628-9284
QueensSexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program (SAVI)
Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Office: 212-423-2140
QueensQueens Sexual Assault-Domestic Violence Program
NYC Health + Hospitals
Office: 718-883-4205
QueensQueens Community Program
Safe Horizon
Hotline: 1-855-234-1042
Office: 718-899-1233
QueensThe Violence Intervention and Treatment Program (VITP)
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center (WHMC)
Office: 718-906-3857
RensselaerSexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program
Samaritan Hospital
St. Peter’s Health Partners
Hotline: 518-271-3257
Office: 518-271-3410
RichmondStaten Island Community Program
Safe Horizon
Hotline: 1-855-234-1042
Office: 718-720-2591
RocklandCenter For Safety & Change, Inc.Hotline: 845-634-3344
SaratogaWellspringHotline: 518-584-8188
Office: 518-583-0280
SaratogaSexual Assault Support Services
Planned Parenthood Mohawk-Hudson
Hotline: 1-866-307-4086
SchenectadySexual Assault Support Services
Planned Parenthood Mohawk-Hudson
Hotline: 1-518-346-2266
SchoharieSexual Assault Support Services
Planned Parenthood Mohawk-Hudson
Hotline: 1-518-346-2266
SchuylerSexual Assault Resource Center (SARC)
Planned Parenthood
Hotline: 888-810-0093
SenecaSafe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc.Hotline: 1-800-247-7273
Office: 315-568-4200
St. LawrenceSt. Lawrence Valley Renewal House for Victims of Family Violence, Inc.Hotline: 315-379-9845
SteubenSexual Assault Resource Center (SARC)
Planned Parenthood
Hotline: 888-810-0093
SuffolkVictims Information Bureau of SuffolkHotline: 631-360-3606
SuffolkCrime Victims Center, Inc.
Parents for Megan’s Law
Hotline: 631-332-9234
Office: 631-689-2672
SuffolkL.I. Against Domestic ViolenceHotline: 631-666-8833
Office: 631-666-7181
SullivanRISE Program
Catskill Regional Medical Center
Hotline: 845-791-9595
Office: 845-794-3300 ext. 2440
TiogaA New Hope CenterHotline: 607-687-6866
Hotline: 1-800-696-7600

Office: 607-687-6887
TompkinsThe Advocacy Center of Tompkins CountyHotline: 607-277-5000
UlsterCrime Victims Assistance Program (CVAP)Hotline: 845-340-3442
Office: 845-340-3443
WarrenSexual Assault Support Services
Planned Parenthood Mohawk-Hudson
Hotline: 1-866-307-4086
WashingtonSexual Assault Support Services
Planned Parenthood Mohawk-Hudson
Hotline: 1-866-307-4086
WashingtonWellspringHotline: 518-584-8188
Office: 518-583-0280
WayneVictim Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Inc.Hotline: (800) 456-1172
Office: (315) 331-1171
WestchesterVictims Assistance Services of Westchester Community Opportunity ProgramHotline: (914) 345-9111
Hotline: (855) 827-2255

Office: (914) 345-3113
WestchesterSexual Assault, Abuse and Victim’s Empowerment (SAAVE)
Westchester Medical Center’s Crisis Intervention Program
Hotline: (833) 220-2444
WyomingRESTORE Sexual Assault ServicesHotline: 1-800-527-1757
YatesSafe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc.Hotline: 1-800-247-7273
Office: 315-568-4200
Source:New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

New York State Department of Health: Sexual Violence Prevention Program

The New York State Department of Health houses the Sexual Violence Prevention Program (SVPP). SVPP focuses its efforts on destigmatizing the issue of sexual violence within the community. Additionally, the program emphasizes prevention tactics with the goal of eliminating sexual violence in communities throughout New York State. You can learn more about SVPP and find additional victim resources here.

New York Clergy Abuse FAQs

How Can I Report New York State Sexual Abuse by a Priest?

If you or the suspected victim are in immediate danger, call the police. 

There are several hotlines residents of New York State can use to report cases of abuse:

To report any sexual abuse:

Call the New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906.

To report sexual abuse on a New York college campus:

Contact the New York State Police by calling the hotline number 1-800-942-6906.

To report sexual abuse in New York City:

Call the hotline 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) or dial 311.

For more information about reporting sexual abuse, visit our resource page>

Reporting Clergy Abuse to the New York Attorney General

The New York Attorney General is currently investigating clergy abuse in the state. A hotline and online complaint form have been set up to help the investigation.

Victims or witnesses of sexual abuse of minors in the state of New York are encouraged to fill out the online complaint form or call the hotline below with information.

Hotline: 1-800-771-7755

All allegations will be reviewed by investigators.


Source: Press Release from the Office of the New York Attorney General

Is There Help for Someone Who Was Sexually Abused by a Priest in NY?

Yes. There are many resources across the state of New York that can help a victim of clergy abuse. Review our list of statewide New York resources above.

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