The Rockville Center diocese suffered a setback this week when Steven Jaeger, Supreme Court Justice of the Nassau District, denied the diocese's motion to stay the lawsuits. The diocese has argued that the lawsuits could force them into bankruptcy.
The Diocese of Rockville Center filed its own lawsuit last November to combat the constitutionality of the New York Child Victim Act, which was passed in February 2019 and allows victims of child abuse to claim for a period of one year, regardless of when the abuse took place.
The diocese, which serves more than 1.4 million Catholics in the Nassau and Suffolk counties, has since requested to postpone 86 cases of sexual abuse against them until an appeal against the CVA is filed. The diocese argued that residence was essential because the cost of combating the appeal and the cases of sexual abuse could lead to bankruptcy all at once.
"The Court finds that the delay in seeking justice has already been significant and further delay is not warranted," said Jaeger's decision. "Many CVA claimants state that they have been dealing with the effects of abuse for decades and that this abuse has been allegedly permitted through negligence, willful blindness, and / or knowledge of the cover-up by the diocese and others."
The Rockville Center has been fighting survivors for decades, even during a Grand Jury investigation nearly two decades ago that found the diocese bishops to cover up the sexual abuse of minors by Rockville Center priests.
The Grand Jury report, published in February 2003, concluded
“Priests assigned to and working in the Rockville Center diocese have committed offenses that violate Article 130, sex offenses, and other laws protecting children's health, safety, and well-being. These criminal acts included, but are not limited to, rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, harm to a child's welfare, and use of a child in a sexual performance. Not a single priest in the diocese who knew about these crimes reported them to a law enforcement agency. Due to the nature of the sexual abuse of children, the victims of these criminal activities have disclosed them frequently and only in these cases as adults. This almost always happened after the statute of limitations for prosecuting these crimes expired. Even when offender priests were sent to a diocese outside the state, the toll provisions of the New York State Criminal Procedure Act did not work effectively to enable criminal prosecution. The restrictions included excluded the persecution of offenders living outside the state. The grand jury concluded that diocesan officials have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect children. They ignored credible complaints about the sexual abuse of priests. They did not respond to obvious warning signs of sexual abuse, including cases where they knew that priests had children overnight in their rectory private rooms, that priests with underage children drank alcohol and exposed them to pornography. Even if a priest manifested sexually abusive behavior towards children, officials failed to remove him from duty. "
Anyone who knows the history at Rockville Center should welcome the judge's decision. See below for more information.
The crisis of clergy sexual abuse