Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against Priests Across Region

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG) – A handful of lawsuits were announced on Thursday against the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese, which covers part of central New York and the Southern Tier.

A new state law reopens the window for victims so they can sue their abusers.

Tom Magnarelli/WSKG

The suits, filed by Jeff Anderson Associates and by LaFave, Wein and Frament, PLLC, allege abuse at Blessed Sacrament in Johnson City as well as churches in Skaneateles, Utica, Syracuse and Rome, New York. Many of the priests also served at other churches in the Southern Tier and Central New York

Six priests were accused: Fr. Daniel Casey, Fr. Felix Colosimo, Fr. Bernard Gartska, Fr. Edward Madore, Fr. Thomas Neary and Fr. Wilhelm Golli.

Golli had not been accused publicly before. All but Madore are dead. He’s no longer a priest.

Lawyer Jeff Anderson hopes the suits send a strong message to the Syracuse Diocese and the nation’s other dioceses.

“Be better and work with us. Instead of against us,” Anderson said. “As they did in lobbying  against the reforms and the statute of limitations.”

Anderson and other law firms have filed hundreds of cases since the one-year window opened in New York on Wednesday.

When asked for comment, the Syracuse Diocese pointed to a letter written by Bishop Douglas Lucia to parishioners last week. “We will turn all such matters over to legal counsel to ensure that they are handled properly and fairly,” Lucia said. “I am committed to be as forthcoming as we are able in such matters while respecting the confidentiality that accompanies the due process of law.”

Lucia, who was installed as bishop last week, also highlighted the work the diocese has done to address child sexual abuse by clergy. That includes a victim compensation program which ran last year.