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Clergy Abuse Victim Sues Diocese Of Rochester

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - A new lawsuit has been filed against the Rochester Catholic Diocese and other related organizations in connection with a case of alleged sexual abuse.

The suit was filed this week by Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has been prominent for representing victims of sexual abuse by priests and was depicted in the film, Spotlight.

Garabedian says the suit is on behalf of a man who is now 55 years old, and alleges he was abused as a young boy in Rochester by Father Francis Vogt, who has since died.

“For approximately two years when my client was 5 to 7, and the supervisors of Father Francis Vogt were complicit and negligent in the sexual abuse of my client over the course of approximately two years. The abuse occurred from approximately 1969 to 1971,” Garabedian said.

The lawsuit includes not only the Rochester Diocese but the Catholic Youth Organization of Catholic Charities, and various parishes. The suit alleges that Father Vogt abused the child at a Catholic Youth Organization facility and at the boy’s home.

Father Francis Vogt’s name came up last year when other allegations were made, and the Rochester Diocese had listed Vogt on its website as among the priests who were removed from public ministry for sexual abuse of a minor.

Garabedian says the problems that abuse victims suffer from these encounters can linger for years.

“Unfortunately victims of clergy sexual abuse suffer the effects of the abuse for their entire lives, whether it be a man or a woman; they have trust issues, anger issues, anxiety issues, lack of self esteem, guilt issues, confidence issues, sleep issues,” Garabedian said.

A statement from the Rochester Diocese said that they had not been served yet with the lawsuit. The Diocese says that this was the first complaint they have received under the New York State Child Victims Act that was passed earlier this year. The Diocese anticipates there will be others.