Category Archives: Child Victims Act

The New York Catholic Church Paid Lobbyists $2.1 Million to Block Child Sex-Abuse Law Reform

The New York Catholic Church Paid Lobbyists $2.1 Million to Block Child Sex-Abuse Law Reform

5/31/16 11:00am

From the Link:
Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

From 2007 to the end of 2015, the New York Daily News reports, the New York Catholic Conference, led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, paid top Albany lobbyists more than $2.1 million to help block legislation, including the Child Victims Act, that would make it easier for victims of child sex abuse to seek justice.

If passed, the bill—a version of which is still pending—would change New York state law to allow a one-year window in which victims older than 23 could bring lawsuits against their abusers. (Such victims are restricted from suing under the current law.)

State records show that the conference, a group representing the bishops of the state’s eight dioceses, retained lobbyists to work on a number of issues associated with “statute of limitations” and “timelines for commencing certain civil actions related to sex offenses.”

“We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church,” Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust told the New York Times in 2009.

In addition to the Church’s own internal lobbyists, the conference retained Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications.

Patricia Lynch’s involvement is of particular note: According to court filings in the corruption case against Sheldon Silver unsealed earlier this year, Lynch and the disgraced speaker carried on a longstanding, mutually beneficial affair.

Her involvement signaled a turning point in the legislation. From 2006 to 2008, the state Assembly passed four different version of the Child Victims Act, the Daily News reports. After PLA was hired in 2009, the measure was never voted on again.

In a letter to the judge in Silver’s case submitted late last year, John Aretakis, a former lawyer and an advocate for child sex abuse victims, specifically criticized the former speaker for obstructing reform as a result of his relationship with Lynch.



Lynch’s firm was paid $7,500 a month, the Daily News reports. The firm’s contract with the Catholic Conference was terminated not long after Lynch was identified as Silver’s mistress. Lynch said that contract ended by “mutual consent.”

Former ‘singing’ priest found guilty of raping boy with a crucifix

Former ‘singing’ priest found guilty of raping boy with a crucifix

04/07/2016 – 14:36:16

From the Link:

Father Tony Walsh

Father Tony Walsh

Former “singing” priest Tony Walsh faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison for raping a boy with a crucifix, a court has heard writes Sonya McLean.

Anthony Walsh (62) committed the offence and two other rapes of the same victim before the Criminal Law (Rape) Amendment Act came into effect in 1990, meaning that the maximum penalty the judge can impose on each offence is two years.

He is charged with indecent assault as that was the offence which existed at the time. He forced the child to have sex twice, once in the parochial house in his parish and on another occasion in a tunnel under the Phoenix Park. He also used a crucifix to rape the boy.

Walsh told the jury during the trial last month that he never knew the boy and said he never assaulted him.

Walsh, formerly of North Circular Road, Dublin 7 had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five counts of indecently assaulting the boy on dates between January 1980 and December 1982. The boy was aged between 10 and 13 years old at the time of the abuse.

The jury of two women and ten men returned verdicts of guilty on all counts after approximately one hour of deliberation following a three day trial.

Today Garda Tara Corrigan told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that Walsh has 17 previous convictions, from 1995 to 2015, for indecently assaulting young boys and one girl.

Walsh fought two trials and pleaded guilty to the other offences. He is currently serving a sentence and is not due for release until 2021.

Judge Elma Sheahan adjourned the case to allow Ciaran O’Loughlin SC, defending, submit relevant case law.

Mr O’Loughlin submitted that, as the victim had made a statement to gardaí in April 2011, it could have been dealt with the same time as Walsh’s most recent case in 2015. He suggested to Judge Sheahan that there was likelihood that the judge would have imposed a concurrent term and not extended Walsh’s term of imprisonment if this happened.

During the trial Walsh told the jury that his offending in relation to children started in 1980 and continued to 1986. He said a number of the children told their families what was happening and he was called in by the Archbishop in 1986.

He said he was sent for six months treatment in the UK and on his return home he was made a hospital chaplain.

He said he first came to garda attention in 1995 in relation to one incident. In 1997 he pleaded guilty to offences involving five boys in the period 1980 to 1986. Asked why he pleaded, Walsh replied “because I was guilty”.

He was sent to prison for ten years initially and this was reduced to six years on appeal. He was released in 2002.

In 2010 he pleaded guilty in two further cases and not guilty in one case but was convicted by a jury. In 2013 he pleaded guilty to two more cases. Walsh said that in 2015 he was convicted by a jury in relation to the sexual abuse of a girl.

He said that in 2002, four months after his release “like a bolt out of the blue” he was featured on the TV program “Cardinal Sins.”

“I was stunned because I had served my time” he told the court. “There was no re-offending whatsoever and suddenly I was back into the law and the courts.”

The victim told the jury that on the first occasions Walsh had sat him on his knee and pulled him backwards with a gyrating motion.

On further occasions Walsh sat him on his knee and then pulled down his trousers and underwear before fondling his genitalia. He said he remembered music playing sometimes which Walsh told him was Elvis.

He also recalled being bent over a sofa by Walsh who then put what he believed was his finger into his anus before then putting his penis into him. He said on another day he felt something being put inside his bum and afterwards saw a crucifix on the ground behind him.

He said on the final occasion Walsh asked him to go for a walk and brought him to the Phoenix Park. They went for a walk and into a tunnel were there was a mattress on the ground. Walsh pulled down his underwear and put his penis inside him again.

EXCLUSIVE: NY Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s old firm represents diocese that wants to keep limits on abuse lawsuits

EXCLUSIVE: NY Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s old firm represents diocese that wants to keep limits on abuse lawsuits

Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 11:54 PM
From the Link:
A rep for Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan says the pol is not delaying the bill because of his ties to the law firm. (BARRY WILLIAMS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

A rep for Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan says the pol is not delaying the bill because of his ties to the law firm. (BARRY WILLIAMS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

ALBANY — Maybe that’s why state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is more concerned about the rights of the predators than justice for victims.

Flanagan, a key roadblock to a bill that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice, has ties to a law firm that represents a Long Island Catholic diocese that vehemently opposes statute of limitations reform, the Daily News has learned.

Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) until last year served as “of counsel” at Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana in Uniondale.

The firm on its website lists as one of its clients the Diocese of Rockville Centre. A grand jury in 2003 accused the diocese, which has parishes in Nassau and Suffolk counties, of protecting pedophile priests.

The law firm also represents several of the diocese’s affiliates, including Catholic Health Services, St. Francis Hospital and Mercy Medical Center.

And firm partner Anthony Curto has served on the board of directors for Telecare, the diocese’s Long Island-based television and production facility.

Though Flanagan left the firm shortly before becoming Senate majority leader in May 2015, a lawyer who represents abuse victims says Flanagan has a conflict when it comes to the Child Victims Act. “It’s a real matter of conscience whether or not he feels he can deprive these victims of terrible sexual abuse of their day in court with his old firm having represented the diocese,” said attorney Michael Dowd.

Flanagan spokesman Scott Reif said the majority leader was unaware his old firm represented the Diocese of Rockville Centre until asked about it by The News on Tuesday.

“The insinuation that he’s holding up the bill because of it is absolutely untrue,” Reif said, adding that “every issue is considered on the merits.”

Flanagan in his state ethics filing for 2014 reported having made between $100,000 and $150,000 at the firm in his last full year there.

In describing the work he did in the filing, Flanagan said he provided direct services to clients in the areas of real estate and land use. He also reported that he referred corporate, trust and estate matters to the firm while also providing it with advice related to wills.

Flanagan served in the Assembly for 16 years before being elected to the state Senate in 2002.

Dowd, who has an ongoing priest abuse case against the Diocese of Rockville Centre, said it doesn’t matter that Flanagan is no longer at the firm or may not have handled cases involving the church.

“The fact that they represented the diocese when he was there is a conflict,” Dowd said. “There is nothing more fundamental to the diocese than keeping the money in their pocket.”

Representatives of Flanagan’s old firm and the diocese did not return calls for comment.

Diocese Bishop William Murphy has been a loud opponent of a bill to change the statute of limitations on abuse lawsuits. (STEPHEN BARCELO FOR THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/STEPHEN BARCELO FOR THE NEW YORK)

Diocese Bishop William Murphy has been a loud opponent of a bill to change the statute of limitations on abuse lawsuits. (STEPHEN BARCELO FOR THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/STEPHEN BARCELO FOR THE NEW YORK)

Diocese Bishop William Murphy has been a loud opponent of a measure that would extend or eliminate the statute of limitations pertaining to child sex abuse cases while also opening up a one-year window for those who can no longer sue under current law to bring civil cases.

Murphy had been linked to the widespread priest abuse coverups in Boston, where he worked as a high-ranking priest. He has denied protecting pedophile priests.

He began his time at the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2001. Two years later, the diocese was hit with a bombshell report from a Suffolk County grand jury that found “the history of the Diocese of Rockville Centre demonstrates that as an institution they are incapable of properly handling issues relating to the sexual abuse of children by priests.”

Around 2004, the diocese acknowledged knowing that 66 of its priests were accused of abusing children, according to Channel 4 New York. It never made those priests’ names public.

With 10 session days left until the scheduled end of the June 16 legislative calendar, time is running short to address the Children’s Victims Act.

In a statement to The News last week, Flanagan for the first time said there are bills addressing child sex abuse issues that he is prepared to support. None are believed to contain the one-year window sought by advocates that allows adults who were abused as kids but can no longer sue under current law to bring a civil case.

The Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a push by Democrats to force a vote on a bill by Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) that would eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations pertaining to child sex abuse cases, create the one-year window and treat public and private entities the same when it comes to abuse cases.

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) has not said whether his Democratic conference will bring any bill addressing the child sex abuse issue to the floor for a vote before the end of the legislative session.