What to Know About Priest Sexual Abuse in New York

Category: Catholic Sexual Abuse

New York’s population is over 30% Catholic.

With the abundance of Roman Catholic Churches and schools in the state and the sordid reality of predatory clergy, it’s unsurprising that New York has a significant number of priest sex abuse claims. The widespread molestation and rape that clergy have committed against children have caused the Church to face serious financial troubles and severe damage to their reputation.

The statute of limitations was extended in several states and led to thousands of new priest abuse lawsuits throughout the U.S., including New York. Combined with the NY Child Victims Act, which allows survivors the opportunity to make child sex abuse claims against Catholic priests until August 14, 2021, no matter their age, dioceses are struggling.

With legislation changes giving more victims the option to seek financial compensation, the Church’s near future will look much like it does now: an institution overrun by scandals costing expensive trials and settlements, and church leaders exposed for covering up priest sex abuse. More dioceses will become financially crippled from the influx of claims and lead to bankruptcy in some cases.

In 2020, a report of U.S. priests credibly accused of abuse named over 5,800 clergy, a disturbing number believed to be far lower than the actual total. In an effort of transparency, many dioceses have revealed their own lists of clergy with credible accusations against them. However, the lists provided by the Church have often been criticized by advocacy groups and investigators who believe many names are intentionally left off or missing.

They also think the Church is still protecting those accused of child sex abuse.

When Did Priest Abuse Claims Start?

The first well-known U.S. clergy sexual abuse claim that led others to come forward in the following years made headlines in the 1980s. But priest sex abuse scandals really gained momentum in the early 2000s, with thousands of members named in lawsuits today.

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