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Lawsuits filed against local priests under Child Victims Act

There have been 32 new lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Syracuse under the Child Victims Act, accusing priests at various churches of abuse.

Posted: Jun 18, 2020 5:51 PM
Updated: Jun 18, 2020 5:52 PM

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – There have been 32 new lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Syracuse under the Child Victims Act, accusing priests at various churches of abuse.

Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave Wein & Frament, the law firms handling the cases, say the suits were filed under the Child Victims Act, legislation that lifted the statute of limitation for sex abuse allegations.

The firm has filed 38 total lawsuits against the Diocese of Syracuse.

Four newly accused clergymen are:

  • The Rev. James A. Culver: Accused of sexually abusing a child from around 1969 to 1971 at St. John’s in North Bay and at St. Mary's in Verona Beach.
  • The Rev. William J. Kiefer: Accused of sexually abusing a minor from about 1945 to 1946 at St. Paul’s in Oswego.
  • The Rev. L. Peter Paige: Accused of sexually abusing a child from around 1969 to 1970 at Our Lady of Pompei in Syracuse.
  • The Rev. Joseph M. Ploeckl: Accused of sexually abusing a minor from 1970 to 1971 at St. Mary’s in Utica.

This is in addition to the following complaints already filed against:

  • James Francis Purtell: Accused of sexually abusing two children between 1979 and 1984 while teaching at St. John the Evangelist and Seton Catholic Central, both in Binghamton.
  • Monsignor Charles H. Eckermann: Accused of abusing various children from 1958 to 1983.
  • The Rev. Bernard A. Garstka: Accused in two complaints of abusing minors at St. Patrick’s in Taberg in the mid-1960s.
  • The Rev. Chester A. Misercola: Accused in three complaints from former students at Bishop Cunningham Catholic High School in Oswego where he worked for more than 20 years from 1970 to 1992.

Officials with the diocese say they haven't yet seen the lawsuits, but will cooperate with the legal process.

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