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N.Y. Diocese Sued In '99 Priest Case

Jul 31, 2002 | DAILY NEWS

A Manhattan man who said he was sexually assaulted by a Little Italy priest is suing the Archdiocese of New York for $10 million.
The man - whose name is being withheld by the Daily News - was 22 years old and a student from Jamaica when, he said, he was abused by the Rev. Albin Fusco in the rectory of Most Precious Blood Catholic Church on Aug. 2, 1999, according to his lawyer, Adam Cahn.

Cahn said his client was confused about his sexuality and upset over being expelled from college when he sought counseling from Fusco, a member of the Franciscan order.

Fusco and the younger man were in a television room at the rectory when, Cahn said, Fusco turned and said: "I think you need a hug."

He said the priest then pushed the man toward his lap.

His client "had come to this church for some guidance and counseling and ended up being forced to perform oral sex," Cahn said.

Fusco, 72, was arrested in 1993 in Troy, Rensselaer County, for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover cop in a park, Cahn said. But the charge was dismissed on the condition he stay out of trouble for six months.

Priest defrocked

The vicar provincial of the Franciscan Province of the Immaculate Conception, the Rev. Patrick Boyle, said Fusco was defrocked after the 1999 allegations surfaced and was forced to withdraw from public ministries.

The young man filed a lawsuit two years ago against Most Precious Blood Church, the Franciscans and Fusco.

That case is pending.

The new suit, filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court, accuses the archdiocese of negligence, saying it "knew or should have known that [Fusco's] antisocial behavior and sexual proclivities were a source of danger and a menace to the life and mental well being of others."

Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the archdiocese, said he had no immediate comment on the merits of the case.

"Father Fusco is a Franciscan priest, not an archdiocese priest," Zwilling said, "He's never been under the supervision of the archdiocese."

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