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NEWS 12 LONG ISLAND

Alleged victim of clergy abuse shares story as diocese unveils fund

Posted: Oct 16, 2017 1:58 PM EST
Updated: Oct 16, 2017 8:25 PM EST
ROCKVILLE CENTRE –

As the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveils a compensation fund for victims of clergy sex abuse, a Long Island man who says he was sexually abused by a priest decades ago is sharing his story.

Thomas McGarvey says he grew up in a typical Irish Catholic family. He also says he was abused by a priest at St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square, starting when he was 16.

Ever since then, McGarvey says he has struggled in both his personal and professional life.

“It almost ended my marriage,” he says. “I had to take an early retirement from American Airlines.”

McGarvey’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, has represented clergy sexual abuse victims in Boston and in New York for years.

“Six different priests have been named to me by victims within the Diocese of Rockville Centre spanning a period of 21 years of abuse,” Garabedian says.

On Monday, the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveiled its new Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. Officials say it is for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy within the diocese.

Under the program, an individual who receives compensation agrees to waive their rights to litigate against the diocese in the future. The first phase of the program begins immediately for anyone who has previously notified the diocese of abuse, and the second phase is expected to begin in 2018.

Bishop John Barres, leader of Long Island’s 1.5 million Catholics, said on the Telecare Network that the program is a critical next step for the church.

McGarvey says he plans to participate, but in the end he just wants some closure and to put the whole thing behind him. “I want to get on with my life,” he says.

Asked to comment on McGarvey’s allegations, a spokesperson for the diocese said they do not comment on individual claims.

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Number of Alleged Sex Abuse Victims of Maspeth Priest Jumps to 23

Number of Alleged Sex Abuse Victims of Maspeth Priest Jumps to 23

Photo Courtesy of GoogleProchaski was a priest assigned to Holy Cross in Maspeth from 1969 to 1994.By Michael V. Cusenza
The number of women accusing a former Maspeth priest of sexual abuse has increased to 23, according to published reports.
Fifteen women came forward on Sept. 26 to say they were abused by the Rev. Adam Prochaski at the Holy Cross church and school in Maspeth between 1973 and 1994. Eight more followed suit this week. Prochaski was assigned to Holy Cross from 1969 to 1994.
According to the New York Daily News, Prochaski was pastor of the parish for about four years. He later left the priesthood, got married, and reportedly lives in Queens.
“As far as the number going up from 15 to 23—it’s terrible. Any time there is news of another survivor, it is devastating to the diocese, the clergy, the faithful,” Diocese of Brooklyn spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad told The Forum on Tuesday. “It is important for people to know that while the allegations against Prochaski are surfacing for the first time, all of the alleged incidents coming to light took place decades ago and before sweeping reform was implemented to ensure the protection of children and the prosecution of perpetrators. It is a new day for the Church. One of transparency, zero tolerance, and vigilance for the protection of children.”
The alleged victims are being represented by Dr. Robert Hoatson of Road to Recovery, which assists the victims and their families with recovery and healing, and attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who was famously portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the Academy Award-winning feature film, “Spotlight,” which covered the Boston Globe’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups.
“Mr. Garabedian is an excellent attorney who is an expert in clergy sexual abuse,” Hoatson told The Forum this week. “His advocacy and legal representation of victims are exemplary.”
On Wednesday, Hoatson and Linda Porcaro, a former Holy Cross School lay teacher who reported to her supervisors in 1990-1991 that approximately seven minor females (students of Holy Cross School) told her that Prochaski had sexually abused or was sexually abusing them, were set to hold a two press conferences outside Holy Cross Church and the headquarters of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“Had the supervisors of Fr. Adam Prochaski, such as Bishop Thomas Daily, done something about the reports of Fr. Adam Prochaski sexually abusing minor females at Holy Cross Parish and School, Maspeth, Queens years ago, many minor females would have been spared from sexual abuse, and the minor females who reported the sexual abuse could have received the resources they needed to heal,” according to a notice detailing the media events. “Why did Bishop Daily, two principals, and other diocesan officials, who either knew about the sexual abuse or placed Fr. Adam Prochaski ‘absent on leave’ from 1995-2002 without informing the parishioners of Holy Cross Parish and being transparent about the allegations, allow the sexual abuse to continue unabated for years?”

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Man says Franklin Square priest abused him

Comes forward as Diocese of RVC launches victim compensation program
Posted October 16, 2017
Thomas McGarvey, right, who grew up in Franklin Square, alleged that a priest sexually abused him at St. Catherine of Sienna Church over eight years at a news conference outside the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s headquarters on Monday. Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, left, who has handled hundreds of sexual abuse cases, is representing him.
Thomas McGarvey, right, who grew up in Franklin Square, alleged that a priest sexually abused him at St. Catherine of Sienna Church over eight years at a news conference outside the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s headquarters on Monday. Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, left, who has handled hundreds of sexual abuse cases, is representing him.
Ben Strack/Herald
By Ben Strack

The same day that the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveiled its compensation program on Monday for victims of clergy sexual abuse, Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian stood outside the diocese’s headquarters on North Park Avenue with one of his clients, asserting that the church, through the program, is “trying to put a positive spin on an evil situation.”

The man he is representing, Thomas McGarvey, was 16 when he alleges that a priest began sexually abusing him at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Franklin Square. The abuse spanned from 1981 to 1989, he said, and that priest has since died.

McGarvey, who now lives in Queens, said he would often stay over in the rectory with the priest, who abused him, adding that the priest also made sexual advances on his brother. “I was ashamed of it,” McGarvey said. “I was trying to hide it.”

Now, he said, he is considering participating in the diocese’s new Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program — designed to grant financial settlements to victims — to put the past behind him and move on with his life.

Phase One of the program, modeled after those created in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn over the past year to help victims of abuse by priests and deacons gain some form of closure, began Monday, and will handle claims already made to the diocese. The program is funded through investment returns over time and insurance programs.

Any person wishing to file a new claim alleging sexual abuse not previously reported to the diocese may be eligible to participate in Phase Two of the program, which the diocese anticipates to launch in January. All claims will be investigated before the program’s administrators, which include an independent oversight committee, make a decision on a potential settlement.

“We as a Church recognize that no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the grave harm suffered by survivors of child abuse,” Bishop John Barres, leader of the diocese’s 1.5 million Catholics, said in a statement. “Still, we embrace Christ’s healing power and the Mission of Mercy of the Catholic Church as we begin our Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program. We stand in solidarity with our survivors and their families, and we continue our commitment and vigilance to the protection of children in our Church and in society.”

Applicants who go through the program in search of healing and closure have a choice whether or not to accept the amount offered, said Garabedian, who was portrayed in the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” about the Boston Globe’s publishing of a series of stories detailing the abuse allegations against priests in Boston.

He has represented hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse over the last few decades, and said that victims in the diocese have informed him of six priests who allegedly abused them, including a past priest at both St. Agnes in Rockville Centre and St. Barnabas in Bellmore. Abuse from these six recent claims spans from 1971 to 1992, he added, when the now middle-aged victims were between the ages of 8 and 24.

McGarvey claimed that, in his case, other members of the church knew that the abuse was happening, but did not stop it. He added that the trauma from the abuse has hurt him personally and professionally, spurring a lack of concentration and outbursts of anger.

“I always thought it was my Irish temper, but no,” he said. “It’s what happened to me. It’s like anybody that suffered from a war, like a veteran. It’s the same thing. It’s post-traumatic syndrome.”

Currently, a state statute of limitations — requiring victims of child sex abuse to file charges against their alleged perpetrators before they turn 23 — bars many from seeking legal action, and McCarvey said he expects many more to seek financial compensation through the diocese’s program, despite it lacking transparency in outing the accused priests.

“It’s all about validation,” Garabedian said. “There isn’t one client that I’ve ever represented who wouldn’t give all the money back they’ve ever received in exchange for not having been abused.”

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church, who Barres said in an interview with EFL News has made great progress in child protection, looks to move on. “As your Shepherd, I am asking all of us together to take a new and important step in the Church’s Eucharistic Mission of Mercy,” he said in a statement. “With this program we are making a major commitment to the ongoing healing of survivors of acts of child sexual abuse committed by clergy.”

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MEDIA RELEASE – OCTOBER 15, 2017

A childhood victim of clergy sexual abuse will speak to the media about the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program recently established by the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York for childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse

Thomas Mc Garvey was sexually abused at St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Franklin Square, Long Island by Fr. Robert L. Brown (deceased) and has been waiting for decades for healing and justice. Thomas Mc Garvey is represented by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, MA (garabedianlaw.com – 617-523-6250) who is working with a licensed New York attorney and whose character was featured in the Oscar-winning Best Picture, “Spotlight

What
A press conference by a Rockville Centre Diocese childhood clergy sexual abuse victim, Thomas Mc Garvey, to discuss the establishment of an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program by the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York
Monday, October 16, 2017 at 11:30 AM

When
Monday, October 16, 2017 at 11:30 AM

Where 
On the public sidewalk outside the headquarters of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, 50 North Park Avenue, Rockville Centre, New York 11571-9023

Who
Thomas Mc Garvey, a childhood clergy sexual abuse victim of Fr. Robert L. Brown in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York; his attorney, Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, MA, whose character was featured in the Academy Award-winning Best Picture, “Spotlight”; and advocate Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families

Why
Thomas Mc Garvey was a minor child at St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Franklin Square, Long Island, when he was sexually abused by parish priest, Fr. Robert L. Brown. Because of the Rockville Centre Diocese’s opposition to legislation in New York State that would give childhood victims of sexual abuse their day in court and a measure of justice, Thomas Mc Garvey has been denied healing and justice for decades. Thomas Mc Garvey will discuss the establishment of an “Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program” by the Diocese of Rockville Centre and his intentions to participate in the program or not to participate.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800 – roberthoatson@gmail.com

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

N.Y. / Region
23 Women Accuse Former Queens Priest of Abusing Them as Children
By SHARON OTTERMANOCT. 11, 2017

Linda Porcaro, left, a former teacher at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth, Queens, and Robert Hoatson, an abuse survivor advocate, at a news conference outside the church on Wednesday.
Credit
Joshua Bright for The New York Times

A former teacher at a Catholic school in Queens who said she had reported the sexual abuse of seven female students by a priest in 1991 now claims that the Diocese of Brooklyn covered it up for more than a decade, allowing more girls to be abused.
The teacher, Linda Porcaro, said on Wednesday that she is coming forward now because the victims, on whose behalf she was speaking, are ready to seek justice. Over the last two months, 23 women who said they were abused by the former priest, Adam Prochaski, have become clients of the lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, who was portrayed in the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” about clergy sex abuse. Most of the women’s claims have been referred to the police.
Mr. Prochaski was based at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth for nearly 25 years. He is accused of abusing the girls between 1972 and 1994, when they were between the ages 5 and 16.
In New York State, no criminal or civil litigation can take place for most child sex abuse crimes after a victim turns 23. But an exception can be made for rape. The New York Police Department was investigating whether any of the recent allegations qualify for prosecution, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney’s office said.
Mr. Garabedian said the crimes Mr. Prochaski was accused of ranged from fondling to rape. He has also provided advice on whether the women should apply for compensation through the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which was established in June. He expects more women will come forward.
Brooklyn Diocese Seeks to Compensate Sex Abuse Victims JUNE 22, 2017

7 Victims Name Priests Who Sexually Abused Them as Children MAY 18, 2017

Review: In ‘Spotlight,’ The Boston Globe Digs Up the Catholic Church’s Dirt NOV. 5, 2015

He said the women cannot comment themselves because of the pending investigation.
Outside the Queens church, Ms. Porcaro said: “It’s horrible, it’s really horrible. And what kills me is that it could have been stopped. And I don’t know why no one would do it.”
Ms. Porcaro, 63, said that at the end of 1990, seven fifth-graders told her that Father Prochaski was sexually abusing them. Most were Polish immigrants whose families had been brought to America with the help of the priest, to whom they felt beholden.
She said she reported the abuse to the principal, a nun from the Sisters of the Holy Family order. She said the nun laughed and said, “Oh, everybody knows about Father Adam,” she recalled. “And I had tears in my eyes.”
That principal left, and in 1991, Ms. Porcaro reported the abuse to the next principal. This time, she said, the diocese sent people to ask the students questions. But Father Prochaski remained as the administrator of the school and the parish’s pastor.

 

Carolyn Erstad, a spokeswoman for the diocese, denied on Wednesday that the diocese had received any allegations about Father Prochaski in 1991. She said two women came directly to the diocese in 1994 to report that they were abused as children by him. Separately, a principal and teacher reported that he had abused children. The diocese confronted Father Prochaski and he denied the allegations, she said.
Ms. Erstad said that in October 1994, Father Prochaski resigned, and that in 1995, he wrote a letter cutting all ties with the diocese. He has not served as a priest since.
Ms. Erstad acknowledged that it was not until 2002 that the Brooklyn Diocese notified law enforcement about the allegations. That was the year American bishops passed the Dallas Charter, requiring that dioceses report all allegations of sexual abuse of minors to public authorities. By then, none of the allegations against Mr. Prochaski were within the statute of limitations for prosecution, the spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney said.
After resigning as pastor, Mr. Prochaski, now 75, moved to Ridgewood, Queens, and married.
Mr. Prochaski did not return a request for comment, and a man leaving his home said he could not comment on the situation.
In June, the Brooklyn Diocese began a program to offer survivors of clergy sexual abuse monetary awards, if they agreed to pursue no further legal action against the diocese. This summer, Mr. Garabedian said, a woman who claimed to be one of Mr. Prochaski’s victims asked him for help in applying.
A Facebook post then circulated, seeking additional victims, and Ms. Porcaro, who remains in touch with many of her former students, reposted it. “My computer went bonkers,” she said. Women she had never met began calling her to ask for guidance. “They thought they were the only ones,” she said.
Since it began, the Brooklyn sex abuse compensation program has received 211 claims and made 76 offers. Sixty settlements have been accepted. The initial deadline for applying for funds is Sunday, but victims who have never previously come forward may apply in a second phase. Mr. Garabedian said settlements have ranged between $100,000 and $500,000.

Doris Burke contributed research.

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MEDIA RELEASE – OCTOBER 11, 2017

ARCH STREET SHRINE FRANCISCANS IGNORE CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM

A religious order of priests and brothers, the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, based in New York City, which administers St. Anthony’s Shrine (Arch Street Shrine), Boston, MA, refuses to help heal a woman who is a childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Paul A. Walsh, a/k/a Fr. La Salle Walsh, OFM, who served at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church and Preparatory School in Kingston, Jamaica

 The woman from Kingston, Jamaica was sexually abused at approximately the age of ten (10) by Fr. Paul A. Walsh, OFM, and the leaders of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province promised recently to help her heal – then they reneged on their promise, causing the victim to be re-victimized

 The Arch Street Shrine will hold its major fundraiser of the year on the Boston waterfront knowing that the Franciscan friars continue to ignore the Jamaican woman who has requested that the Francisca Friars help her heal and recover from the sexual abuse she experienced

 

What
A demonstration alerting fundraising attendees, Franciscan supporters, and the general public that the Franciscan friars of the Arch Street Shrine, part of Holy Name Province of the Franciscan Friars, continue to ignore a childhood sexual abuse victim of a Franciscan priest, Fr. Paul A. Walsh, causing her to be re-victimized and re-traumatized

When
Thursday, October 12, 2017 – 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Where
On the public sidewalk outside the Seaport Boston Hotel, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston, MA 02110

Who

Members of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, including its co-founder and President, Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D.

Why
The Franciscan Friars of the Arch Street Shrine, Boston, MA, are holding their major fundraiser of the year, yet a female childhood sexual abuse victim of a Franciscan priest, Fr. Paul Walsh, OFM, who was abused at Our Lady of Angels Roman Catholic Church and School in Kingston, Jamaica, continues to be ignored by the Franciscans.  The childhood sexual abuse victim has requested that the Franciscans help her heal through counseling and other services, and they have denied her.  Several months ago, the Franciscans supposedly agreed to help her, but nothing has happened since.  Demonstrators will inform attendees at the St. Anthony Shrine fundraiser that the Franciscan Friars refuse to help a Jamaican woman who was sexually abused as a ten (10) year old girl by a Franciscan friar.

Contact
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc., 862-368-2800 – roberthoatson@gmail.com

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MEDIA RELEASE – OCTOBER 10, 2017 – WHERE WERE THE

SUPERVISORS?

 Twenty-three (23) women have now come forward to allege that they were sexually abused as minor children by Fr. Adam Prochaski of Holy Cross Parish, Maspeth, Queens, in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. 

 All of the women are represented by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, MA – mgarabedian@garabedianlaw.com – 617-523-6250 – who was featured in the Academy Award-winning Best Picture, “Spotlight,” and is working with a licensed New York attorney

 How is it that Fr. Adam Prochaski was allowed during his 25 years at Holy Cross Parish, Maspeth, Queens, to abuse so many minor females and not be stopped by his supervisors who had knowledge of his sexual abuse as early as 1990-1991 when courageous lay teacher Linda Porcaro Gargiulo (Mrs. “G”) reported to school and parish supervisors that approximately seven (7) minor females had reported to her that they had been sexually abused by Fr. Adam?

What

A press conference announcing that twenty-three (23) women have come forward to report having been sexually abused as minor children by Fr. Adam Prochaski at Holy Cross Parish and School and Holy Cross rectory, Maspeth, Queens, New York, and in Fr. Adam’s car, and demanding a satisfactory answer to this question by Brooklyn Diocesan officials:  “Where were the supervisors of Fr. Adam Prochaski and why was he allowed to sexually abuse so many children for years without being stopped?”

When and Where – (two locations and times)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 11:30 AM on the public sidewalk outside Holy Cross Church, 61-21 56 Road, Maspeth, Queens, New York 11378 Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM – on the public sidewalk outside the headquarters of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, 310 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, New York 11215

Who

Linda Porcaro, former Holy Cross School lay teacher who reported to her supervisors (1990-1991) that approximately seven (7) minor females (students of Holy Cross School) told her that Fr. Adam Prochaski had sexually abused or was sexually abusing them; and Dr. Robert M. Hoatson, co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., who is assisting the victims and their families with healing and recovery

Why

Had the supervisors of Fr. Adam Prochaski, such as Bishop Thomas Daily, done something about the reports of Fr. Adam Prochaski sexually abusing minor females at Holy Cross Parish and School, Maspeth, Queens years ago, many minor females would have been spared from sexual abuse, and the minor females who reported the sexual abuse could have received the resources they needed to heal.  Why did Bishop Daily, two Principals, and other diocesan officials, who either knew about the sexual abuse or placed Fr. Adam Prochaski “absent on leave” from 1995-2002 without informing the parishioners of Holy Cross Parish and being transparent about the allegations, allow the sexual abuse to continue unabated for years?

Contact

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D. – Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800roberthoatson@gmail.com

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Demonstration outside Bergen Catholic High School, Oradell, NJ

October 6, 2017

Bergen Catholic High School Ignores Sex Abuse Victims

VIDEO

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Demonstration outside Our Lady of the Valley, Orange, New Jersey

October 6, 2017

Salesians of Don Bosco Break Promise to Help Sex Abuse Victim

Video

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Demonstration outside Franciscans Headquarters, New York, NY

October 5, 2017

FRANCISCANS BREAK PROMISE TO HELP SEX ABUSE VICTIM

VIDEO

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Number of women accusing Catholic priest of sexual abuse rises to 23

Number of women accusing Catholic priest of sexual abuse now 23
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Monday, October 9, 2017, 11:11 PM
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian (right) and Robert Hoatson (left) at a news conference held by Road to Recovery, a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual abuse, outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Friday Oct. 7, 2016.

(Susan Watts/New York Daily News)

The number of women alleging they were abused as children by a Catholic priest in Queens has swelled to 23, the Daily News has learned.The accusers of former Rev. Adam Prochaski, ranging in age from 39 to 57, say the priest abused them in the Holy Cross parish in Maspeth between 1972 and 1994. The women were between 11 to 16 years old when the abuse allegedly took place.Mitchell Garabedian, their lawyer, said he’s been contacted by women now living in six states, as well as Canada and London. When he first came forward with the allegations, there were 15 accusers.“Many of them claim he abused them for years in the school, the church, the rectory, and some were abused in his car,” Garabedian said.Syracuse-area priest raped child, videotaped abuse in 1980s: suit“The police are investigating this matter. I have forwarded many of my clients’ names to them and I am informed they are interviewing my clients.”Diocese of Brooklyn spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad said the growing number of accusers is “terrible.”

“Anytime there is news of another survivor, it is devastating to the diocese, the clergy, the faithful,” she said.

 “It is important for people to know that while the allegations against Prochaski are surfacing for the first time, all of the alleged incidents coming to light took place decades ago and before sweeping reform was implemented to ensure the protection of children and the prosecution of perpetrators.”

Priest charged with abusing 15 girls ‘thought he was God’

Garabedian was portrayed by the actor Stanley Tucci in the Oscar-winning 2015 film “Spotlight,” about The Boston Globe’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse in Boston.

The Brooklyn Diocese created a fund this year for alleged victims of sexual abuse. It has said that according to records, two women came forward to report Prochaski in 1994. Those complaints were not turned over to authorities until 2002 and 2003.

Adam Prochaski is accused of abusing 23 children as a priest at Holy Cross Church in Maspeth between 1972 and 1994.

Adam Prochaski is accused of abusing 23 children as a priest at Holy Cross Church in Maspeth between 1972 and 1994.

(Middlemiss, Tom)

The Queens district attorney’s office told the Daily News it investigated a range of allegations against multiple priests referred to it by the church in 2002.

“The allegations were reviewed by the experienced career prosecutors of our Special Victims Bureau,” said Kevin Ryan, a spokesman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

NYPD opens investigation into Catholic priest sex abuse claims

“Unfortunately, all of the allegations dated back many years — even decades — and therefore were not prosecutable within the statute of limitations.”

Garabedian said many of the alleged victims are first-generation Polish immigrants.

Prochaski had a program of bringing in young women from Poland, according to several people familiar with his work.

The diocese said Prochaski was suspended in 1994 after two women made allegations against him. He left the priesthood in 1995.

15 women claim priest sexually abused them at NYC school

However, the official Catholic directory shows he was absent on sick leave or other leave from 1994 through 2002. Garabedian said that suggests the church was protecting him.

“The question remains, where were the supervisors, and why weren’t they protecting the children?” Garabedian said.

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TIMES LEDGER

Serving Queens Since 1919

Victims seek justice for former Maspeth priest’s sex abuse

Up to 15 victims have come forward accusing a former Maspeth parish priest of sexual abuse.
A former Maspeth priest is under investigation for the sexual assault of up to 15 girls between 1973 and 1994 with the help of Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who was depicted in the film “Spotlight. Additional women are coming forward.

During the time Father Adam Prochaski was with Holy Cross parish school at 61-21 56th Rd. , Linda Porcaro, a teacher who was close to the matter and the whistleblower in the case, claims the priest had assaulted numerous girls between the ages of 5 and 16 and was known to use physical intimidation on the boys in the school.

“He was mean and intimidati­ng,” Porcaro said in an interview with TimesLedger. “He was very large, he towered over me … He was about 6-foot-4, he wasn’t slim, He wasn’t overweight, but he was built and to a child that’s already very intimidating. I know he was rough with the boys, I saw him with the boys.”

According to Porcaro, Prochaski was especially mean to those who were aware of his actions with the girls in the school and recalls one boy who always had tears in his eyes because of the way the priest would grab him around the neck.

 Porcaro remembers Prochaski as someone who was a “snob” in terms of his taste in cars, clothes and food. He was often taking photos of unsuspecting people around the parish and the school. Porcaro said he had a catalogue of photos of students.

Porcaro said several students came to her about the abuse they endured and she took this information to the principal in 1990.

“She laughed and said, ‘Everyone knows about Father Adam, the whole parish knows about Father Adam,’ and that was it,” Porcaro said. “She left that year and I reported it to the next principal. She asked why I was leaving. I had put in papers to leave.”

Porcaro told the new principal about Prochaski in 1991 and the diocese was informed. They conducted interviews of students but proceeded no further, according to Porcaro.

“This could have been stopped when I reported it, and I believe I was the first. Everybody up until then just laughed about it,” said Procaro, who was teaching fifth to eighth grade at the time, said. “About seven girls came to me to tell me Father Adam was sexually abusing them. I didn’t hesitate to report it.”

Garabedian said Prochaski was sent to a parish in south Brooklyn “where priests could watch over him.” According to the Official Catholic Directory, Prochaski was on leave from 1995 to 2002.

But according to the Diocese of Brooklyn-Queens spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad, Prochaski should not have been listed on sick leave since he had cut ties with the church in 1995 after being approached by diocese leaders about the complaints of sexual misconduct.

 Prochaski did not cooperate with church officials when confronted, Erstad explained.

Erstad said the church had not received any official complaints about the assaults until 1994.

“Based on my experience from handing clergy sexual abuse cases, that is code for in many instances pedophilia and treatment for pedophilia,” Garabedian said. “It’s troubling that Bishop [Vose] Daily and other supervisors of Father Prochaski did not protect innocent children when Father Prochaski was openly and notoriously sexually abusing children in the hallways of the Holy Cross School, the Holy Cross Church and other locations.”

Garabedian said he was not aware of Prochaski’s exact whereabouts, but based on the information he does have, he may still be in the New York City area.

The victims are not able to file a lawsuit because of the statute of limitations which specifies that charges must be filed by child victims of sexual assault who are under 23. Prochaski’s victims are mainly in their 40s, but Garabedian is hoping to see the law changed.

“It is clear there is a cover-up here,” Garabedian said.

Erstad said all the allegations against Prochaski were handed over to the Queens district attorney in 2002.

 The NYPD is currently investigating the matter, according to Garabedian, and the victims are applying to the Diocese of Brooklyn-Queens settlement program for victims of sexual abuse.

“In addition to the implementation of sweeping reform, the Diocese of Brooklyn is financially compensating survivors of past abuse,” the Diocese announced in a statement. “In June, the Diocese implemented the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. All of the women being represented by Mr. Garabedian are invited to apply to the program. We understand that no amount of money can heal the wounds of abuse, but we hope the financial compensation offered through the IRCP will show our solidarity with survivors and provide some element of closure.”

The settlement program can be used to pay for mental health services with clinics and physician unaffiliated with the church, according to Erstad.

“We’re dealing with another, seemingly cover-up by the church,” Bob Hoatson from Road to Recovery, an organization which helps sexual assault victims, said. “They weren’t transparent, they didn’t act immediately, they didn’t call the police. They didn’t take the interests of these girls and their families at heart and now of course the damage has been done. These women are attempting now to recover from this and it’s going to take them a long time. It could have been avoided for the most part.”

Garabedian said while some of the women still embrace the faith, they are all dealing with the trauma of their experiences in different ways.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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QUEENS CHRONICLE

 Ex-Maspeth priest molested girls: lawyer

Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2017 10:30 am

More than a dozen women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse a former Maspeth priest of molesting them as children decades ago.

Prominent attorney Mitchell Garabedian told the Chronicle in a Tuesday interview that 15 women claim that former Holy Cross Church pastor the Rev. Adam Prochaski sexually abused them at some point between 1973 and 1994.

“Father Prochaski was sexually abusing innocent children for more than two decades,” Garabedian said. “My clients are very courageous for coming forward.”

According to the Daily News, which broke the story, Prochaski was first assigned to Holy Cross in 1969. Garabedian said the abuse began four years later and occurred not just at the church, but at the parish’s now-defunct school and other locations.

“Sex abuse happened at school, in Holy Cross Church, in the rectory next door and in some of the children’s homes, as well as the father’s,” the attorney said. “In many cases, his abuse was open, notorious and in plain view.”

The ages of his alleged victims, many of them Polish immigrants, ranged from just 5 years old to 16, he added.

The allegations finally graduated from whispered rumors in 1990, when former Holy Cross teacher Linda Porcaro said seven of the priest’s alleged victims told her what had happened to them.

“So I immediately went to the principal at the time, but I was told that everyone knew about Father P. She laughed,” Porcaro said in a Tuesday interview. “I was supposed to forget about it because everyone knew.”

Porcaro left the school shortly afterwards, but kept in touch with the victims — who are now between 37 and 54 — over the years. In August, she said she saw an anonymous post on Facebook that advised anyone with with information about the priest’s past to call Garabedian.

The lawyer represented many of those sexually abused by priests in Boston a decade ago.

That scandal was famously unearthed by a team of Boston Globe investigative reporters and portrayed in the 2015 Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight,” with popular actor Stanley Tucci playing Garabedian.

“I called him and told him everything I knew, who the girls were and what they told me,” Porcaro said. “I’ve been trying to make this right for 30 years. As this all came out, women have started to contact me, even some from 10 years before I taught there.”

Thinking back to the days spent with Prochaski at the school and church, Porcaro said she noticed him multiple times standing at the bottom of staircases, staring up girls’ skirts as they ascended the stairs.

“He was 6-feet, 4-inches tall and not thin. He was intimidating to a little child,” she said. “He would also constantly take pictures. He had a hobby of photographing candidly anyone he could.”

The Diocese of Brooklyn told the Daily News that Prochaski left the priesthood in 1994, soon after the allegations were reported to the religious organization.

The NYPD and the District Attorney’s Office have launched investigations into the claims, and Garabedian said he is working on getting his clients enrolled in the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program — a fund for victims of sexual abuse committed by clergy members.

“While no amount of money can heal the scars of abuse, we hope the program can help with the healing process and provide some element of closure,” diocesan spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad told the Daily News. “Our intention is to show solidarity with victims.”

Garabedian credited Porcaro with helping the victims work up the strength to report the abuse they suffered