The next domino falls: Rockville Center NY

The Catholic Diocese of Rockville Center, NY has announced an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Plan. These plans, administered by Ken Feinberg and funded by the individual dioceses, aim to compensate victims for abuse.  You can read more about them in my four-part series here.

Victims of sexual abuse in the Long Island Catholic diocese of Rockville Center began receiving letters last week. I predicted this back in July. 

Like the other plans in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, victims receiving letters are in “phase one.” These are men and women who have previously come forward to the diocese to say that they were sexually abused.

Rockville Center, however, is a very unique place.

Rockville Center: Used Intimidation to Trick and Silence Victims

A 2003 Suffolk Grand Jury Report found, according to the New York Times:

Roman Catholic Church officials on Long Island [protected] scores of pedophile priests for decades by using sham policies and a bogus ”intervention team” to trick and silence victims, cover up crimes, avoid scandals and hold down financial consequences.

The panel said the Diocese of Rockville Centre — the nation’s sixth largest, with 1.3 million Catholics in 134 parishes in Nassau and Suffolk Counties — had protected at least 58 abusive priests with aggressive tactics that purported to help victims and their families but that actually used intimidation, claims of confidentiality, hush payments and other means to avoid lawsuits and publicity.

Since 1990, the diocese has maintained a special ”uninsured perils fund” to cover sexual abuse claims, asbestos exposure and trampoline accidents, the grand jury found. It said the fund, raised from parish collections, had paid $1.7 million in claims — none for asbestos exposure or trampoline accidents — but still had $11 million in its account last October.

As for dangerous priests, it said they were shuffled from parish to parish and often allowed to minister to children, while recommendations for psychiatric treatments were ignored and a ”legal affairs” team, ostensibly set up to help sexual abuse victims, worked to suppress legal claims and husband the money.

”The grand jury concludes that 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,” the special grand jury said in a 180-page report based on a nine-month inquiry.

The facts are ugly. You can read the whole report here.

The Players

We have no idea how many priests sexually abused children in the Diocese of Rockville Center. The Grand Jury Report lists many of the men as “Priests A-W.” Here is a list of some of the known diocesan priests who are publicly accused of abuse. More details on the public allegations against each of the priests is here.

Peter A. Allen

Daniel Babis

James Bergin

Brian Brinker

John Butler

Michael Carroll

Gerald (Jerry) Chasse

Basil Peter Congro

Damian Lawrence Cooper

Edward D’Andrea

Thomas DeVita

Angelo Ditta

Peter Duvelsdorf

Matthew Fitzgerald

Michael Hands

Kenneth Hasselbach

William Logan

John Mahoney

Joseph McComiskey

Brian McKeon

George J. Michell

Andrew Millar

James C. Miller

Salvatore J. Miraglia

John D. Mott

Joseph T. Mundy

Kenneth T. Nee

Louis I. Newman

Frank J. Parisi

Alan J. Placa

Charles A. Ribaudo

Brendan Riordan

Robert Saccacio

Thomas G. Saloy

Richard Schaefer

Alfred Soave

Raymond Stegmann

Gerald Twomey

Nicholas Unterstein

Eugene Vollmer

James C. Williams

Gregory Yacyshyn


Alan J. Placa

By far the most interesting name on the list is Placa’s. A close friend of Rudy Giuliani’s, Placa has been accused of molesting teens. He is currently employed by Giuliani’s consulting firm.

Although Placa was “cleared” by Rome, Placa’s accusers have never been able to use the US courts to seek civil justice or to gain access to Placa’s secret files. Placa’s Vatican trial was secret.

This is Placa’s alleged victims’ chance to demand accountability. Although victims will not gain access to the files in Placa’s case, the Diocese of Rockville Center is going to have to “put its money where its mouth is,” so to speak.

What’s up in NY and Brooklyn?

I don’t know. If I hear anything, I will post it here.

6 thoughts on “The next domino falls: Rockville Center NY

  1. Monsignor Melton raped me in Southern Pines, North Carolina in 1964. I gave birth to a son at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Southern Pines, North Carolina. David Drexel helped cover this up. This is the Philadelphia Drexel family with their own saint. My baby was stolen. I want to know where my son is. This is the United States not Ireland.

    Johanna J Smith, MA, LPC

  2. As a student at Pope Pius Seminary I was sexually abused by Fr.Bergin soon after my father died. When I threatened to report him to my Grandfather the Warden at Rikers Island he colluded with the Prefect of Discipline to give me all the schools punishment by going to the first anti war demo on a Saturday. I was finally expelled after the future Fr. John Barrett carved my name on a library table and refused to come forward . He framed me. I never informed and was expelled disgrace. Why. Did Bergin or Fagan put Barrett up to framing me. Fr. Fagan became the rector who covered up complaints about Fr. Placa abusing students . Fr Placa fixed a sex abuse case for Fr Bergin.

  3. Fr Alan Placa handled many cases of abuse when victims came forward years ago AND compiled a series of essays in a book titled ” Slayer of the Soul” – sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. With another good buddy Fr Steven Rossetti who ran the ” clinic” where sexual predator priests were sent for vacation… Oh…. I meant treatment.

    1. you know it was stated by the men who have come forward that everyone at St Pius x Prep Seminary in Uniondale, knew that Msgr Placa was “on the prowl” I spent a lot of time in the dean’s office (Fr Placa’s (then) office) because I was not a very good Catholic boy sometimes, and nothing ever happened. I am not stating that these men are liars, but the word “everyone” may not apply here. Additionally I was an altar server and spent a lot of time with many priests and if i was to remember back I may misconstrue innocent banter to be something else also.

      1. I was abused by Alan Placa, as was others some of whom testified at the Suffolk county Grand Jury in 2003. At that time three men came forward, to disclose their sexual abuse by Placa, from two different locations where Placa served . Since then others have come forward too. The Diocese of Albany has disclosed they are aware of yet more sexually abused Placa victim(s).

        Glad you weren’t abused by Alan Placa ( or the church that shields his conduct).

        Don’t worry I haven’t lost my faith or migrated to drugs or drinking. I am a 15 year church board member who is married for nearly 30 years, and has held numerous honorable positions in the community who still says,…. “ALAN PLACA sexually abused me.”

      2. Mr. Hogan;

        You are wrong.

        Now with the passing of the Child Victims Act, you and many others will find out just how wrong you were. While I don’t believe you are out to protect any sexual predator, I was amazed to see you state doubt on the statements of others. Now that I and others like can speak, you will now experience doubt in your comments…. Richard Tollner

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