Almost 600 child sex abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn since the passage of the Child Victims Act in 2019. The Diocese covers Brooklyn and Queens and has been named as a defendant in 571 claims. This occurred during the first 17 months the Child Victims Act was in place and included 230 clergy members as alleged abusers. Lawsuits against the Brooklyn Diocese account for one-fifth of the total Child Victims Act lawsuits filed statewide in New York.
Many of the lawsuits involved the defrocked priest Romano Ferraro who has faced lawsuits from acts spanning 1958-1991. Ferraro was a known pedophile and was prolific in his abuse. The institution with a large percentage of the lawsuits included the St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, which had 21 lawsuits filed against it. These lawsuits involved nine perpetrators and actions that took place between 1959 and 2001.
In Brooklyn, Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School is the subject of seven lawsuits. Five of the lawsuits involve the late priest George Zatarga. Zartaga was accused of grooming and sexually abusing boys at the institution for years. Zatarga died in 2011.
Acts of Courage
Coming forward against child sex abusers is an act of courage on the part of survivors. They can help make a difference in the future of other children who interact with the Diocese. Holding abusers and the institutions that enable them accountable is the purpose of the Child Victims Act. The Act allows victims who were abused as minors a “look-back window” to circumvent the statute of limitations requirements in seeking justice.
The look-back window has been extended to August 14, 2021, so it is important that survivors come forward soon. Every survivor should get the opportunity to seek justice and have their voice heard. They should be able to seek the help they need and work towards a better day.
Contact a Child Victims Act Attorney
If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, you should consult with an experienced attorney. Bonina & Bonina, P.C. has been at the forefront of Child Victims Act litigation and can provide you with the experience and compassion you need to pursue justice. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation.