Diocese of Rockville Centre identifies clergy accused of sexual abuse in court documents
The Diocese of Rockville Centre identified more than 100 priests and deacons accused of sexual abuse for the first time publicly in court documents.
The court documents were filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy court. As News 12 has reported, the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.
John Schratwieser says he has only recently come to terms with the years of sexual abuse he says he suffered as a child at the hands of Father Alfred Soave, the pastor of his church in Huntington Station.
Schratwieser says the abuse occurred in multiple locations. "In the home, in the church, at the beach, whenever there was an opportunity," he says.
Schratwieser says Father Soave was a family friend who dined at the table with them on holidays. He says it was very difficult for his whole family to come to terms with.
Soave's name was just one of more than a hundred listed in the court document.
"It was a decision made by this bankruptcy judge, that part of reaching survivors included the diocese being compelled to put out a list of names like this," says attorney Trusha Goffe, of Jeff Anderson and Associates.
Goffe says the Diocese of Rockville Centre was the only diocese in the state that had not put out a list of names.
In addition to the names released by the diocese, survivors and their attorneys put together a supplemental list of 46 clergy they say should have been included. That includes allegations against Father Harold Cox, of Ronkonkoma, Father Romano Ferraro, of Kings Park and Commack, and John McGann, the late Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
"I think this is a huge relief, not just for me but for all survivors," says Schratwieser.
Survivors of childhood sex abuse have until Aug. 14 to make a claim under state law.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre issued a statement saying, "The Diocese of Rockville Centre is working in conjunction with its Creditors' Committee on a robust media campaign to alert sexual abuse survivors of the deadline for filing all claims, known as the Bar Date. The Bar Date has been set by the Court for August 14, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. In addition to the campaign, the Diocese has published a list of Accused Clergy that is available on Epiq Corporate Restructuring, LLC's (the "Claims Agent") website for this case at in compliance with the Court Order outlining the Bar Date protocol for Sexual Abuse Claims.
The diocese list of accused clergy consists of all priests, deacons and other clergy (1) who have been the subject of an adverse determination by the Diocesan Review Board of the Debtor that an allegation of clergy abuse against them was credible, or (2) against whom an allegation of clergy abuse was made through the Debtor's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (the "IRCP") and the Debtor made a payment in settlement of such allegation through the IRCP. The DRVC has not previously published a list because of ongoing investigations, privacy issues, as well as potential legal considerations. The inclusion of any name does not represent an admission of guilt on the part of the accused. We continue to pray that the entirety of our efforts throughout the IRCP and Chapter 11 processes will offer some measure of healing and reconciliation to the survivors of clergy sexual abuse."