Friday, October 28, 2016

Court Allows Suit Against Catholic Order and Diocese Over Pedophile Priest To Continue

In Doe v Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent De Paul in Germantown, (Queens Cty. NY Sup. Ct., Sept. 13, 2016) a New York trial court in a decision published only this week refused to dismiss negligent hiring and retention, negligent training and supervision, and fraudulent concealment claims against the Vincentian Order and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre. The suit revolves around a priest, Augusto Cortez, who in 2009 was placed on 6 years' probation under a Personal Safety Plan administered by the Vincentians after he pleaded guilty to forcible touching of a 12 year old Brooklyn girl. Plaintiffs in this case allege that Cortez abused their young daughter beginning as early as 2009 (when she was 2 years old) and continuing until 2014 when the abuse was discovered. Cortez fled the country after being questioned by police about the allegations. A New York Times report when the suit was filed in 2015 elaborates:
After [Cortez's] arrest in 2008 ... the plaintiff’s mother sought the counsel of a priest of Mr. Cortez’s order who worked at a parish church in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. He told her that whatever had transpired between Mr. Cortez and the girl in Brooklyn “was just an accident”.... The girl’s mother accepted the priest’s interpretation, the lawsuit said, and “believed it was safe for her and her family” to continue their friendship with Mr. Cortez, who, like the girl’s parents, are from Guatemala.