ALBANY — Priests from Stottville and Ravena are among the newly identified defendants in child sexual abuse complaints against the Albany Catholic Diocese on Monday under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Father Andrew J. Lenahan is accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1960 to 1963 at Holy Family in Stottville and Father Bernard Turner is accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1981 to 1982 at St. Patrick in Ravena.

The 52 cases remained in limbo while state and local courts were closed through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a release from the law firms of New York-based Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave Wein & Frament, of Guilderland.

Eighteen other clerics among the 52 complaints were publicly identified for the first time. They include:

  • Father Edward F. English, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1962 to 1964 at St. George in Pittstown
  • Father Charles A. Gaffigan, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1992 to 1994 at Holy Infancy in Lake Luzerne
  • Sister Marionella Graham, C.S.J., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1961 to 1962 at St. Joseph in Green Island
  • Sister Rosara Anne, C.S.J., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1963 to 1964 at St. Joseph in Green Island
  • Sister Giovanna Marie, C.S.J., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1964 to 1965 at St. Joseph in Green Island
  • Father Francis Hartigan, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1964 to 1969 at St. Ambrose in Latham and St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany
  • Father Francis Husselbeck, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1982 to 1985 at St. Agnes-St. Patrick in Cohoes
  • Sister Bernadette Marie, R.S.M., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1966 to 1967 at St. Teresa of Avila in Albany
  • Sister Mercedes Graber, R.S.M., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1978 to 1981 at Mercy High School in Albany
  • Father Gregory J. Mulhall, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1983 to 1984 at Church of the Annunciation in Ilion
  • Sister Eileen Patrice, C.S.J., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1961 to 1962 at St. Joseph in Schenectady
  • Father Guy Puglisi, accused of sexually abusing two minors at St. Teresa of Avila in Albany, one in approximately 1974 to 1975 and the other in approximately 1976
  • Father John J. Rooney, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1973 to 1974 at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Albany
  • Father Vincent J. Ciotoli, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1979 to 1983 at St. Patrick in Troy
  • Father Ignatius Rossi, O.F.M., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1957 to 1960 at St. Anthony of Padua in Troy
  • Father Anthony Sidoti, accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1970 to 1971
  • Father Robert Taylor, accused of sexually abusing a minor in approximately 1981 at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Albany
  • Sister Barbara Wood, R.S.M., accused of sexually abusing a minor from approximately 1974 to 1978 at St. Patrick in Watervliet

The firm has filed a total of 74 lawsuits against the Capital Region diocese to date.

“Survivors in upstate New York are reclaiming the power that was stolen from them when they were children,” attorney Jeff Anderson said in a statement Monday. “We are grateful to walk with them on their journey toward healing.”

Three of Monday’s filed complaints name offender Father Gary J. Mercure, who was sentenced to over 20 years in prison for his sexual abuse of children in 2011. Mercure is in prison in Massachusetts, according to Monday’s statement from law associates.

Two lawsuits allege abuse by Father Dozia Wilson from approximately 1982 to 1990. The Albany diocese received a report as early as 1976 that Wilson had sexually abused two minors, according to attorneys.

In 1976, the Diocese of Albany quietly sent Wilson to the Archdiocese of Boston where he faced additional complaints. After Wilson was expelled from the Archdiocese of Boston in 1979, the Diocese of Albany permitted Wilson to return to ministry within Capital Region agency, when he is accused of abusing two survivors who brought suit Monday.

Wilson’s current whereabouts are unknown, attorneys said.

Two lawsuits brought against the Albany and Brooklyn dioceses allege abuse in the mid-1970s by prominent priest Father Guy Puglisi. Puglisi was the vicar for education and superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn prior to his death in 2003.

“In bringing suit today, it is paramount to these survivors that we protect our children of today and tomorrow,” attorney Cynthia LaFave said in a statement Monday. “With the heroic resolve of these voices and their stories, we can imagine a future where justice —long overdue— can be had and atrocities like those already endured are finally obsoleted from the narrative of the American childhood.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act in February 2019 to allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice and file a case with expired statute of limitations, but only for one year. The window to file an expired or time-barred case was set to close Aug. 14, 2020.

Last month, the state extended the Child Victims Act look-back window an additional five months through Jan. 14.

New York legislators unanimously approved extending the look-back window one year, but attorneys at both firms encourage survivors to take action before the original Child Victims Act deadline Aug. 13 to take full advantage of their rights under the law.

“We are honored to stand with these courageous survivors in their pursuit of justice, truth and accountability,” attorney Taylor Stippel said. “As of right now, survivors must bring suit before the CVA deadline of Aug. 13. Although there should never be a time limit for survivors to share their stories, this deadline creates urgency and now is the time to take action in New York.”

Gary Greenberg, of New Baltimore, spearheaded the movement to pass the Child Victims Act in New York state, which gave child sexual abuse survivors a vehicle to file civil suits against their abusers. Greenberg, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 46th state Senate District seat, led the effort through forming the Fighting for Children PAC and ProtectNYKids Inc.

Check back for more on this developing story.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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