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N.Y. Abuse Suit Names Top Clergy

Oct 16, 2002 | AP

A $300 million lawsuit accuses top clergy in Brooklyn's Roman Catholic Diocese of sexual abuse and says the diocese shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish in an alleged cover-up that lasted more than four decades.

The suit alleges that at least 43 children were abused from 1960 to 1984, and that the diocese tried to hide the attacks by transferring priests. Thirteen priests were named in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday.

The plaintiffs, who ranged in age from 7 to 17 when they allegedly were abused, said attacks ranged from fondling to sodomy and occurred on church altars, in rectories, school stairwells, priests' homes and in one alleged case — at Shea Stadium during a Mets game.

The suit also names Bishop Thomas Daily, head of the diocese that serves 1.6 million Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens. The suit alleges that he knew about the abuse.

Daily once worked under Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, where the nationwide sex abuse scandal erupted in January. Daily has also been accused of failing to act promptly on complaints of clergy abuse during his tenure there. He said in March that he regretted some of the decisions he made during that time.

Monsignor Otto Garcia, second-in-command to Daily, is also named in the suit as "part of the concerted effort to fraudulently conceal" the sex abuse by the pedophile priests.

Frank De Rosa, a spokesman for the diocese, said he had not seen the suit and could not comment on the allegations.

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