Lawsuit Claims Parish Failed To Protect Minor From Sexual Abuse

Image of catholic church - representation of minor sexual abuse in the church

A lawsuit filed in New York in July claims the plaintiff was sexually abused by Monsignor Antoine Attea when he was about 12 years old because of the negligence of St. James Parish in Jamestown, NY.

The lawsuit states that the abuse occurred when the plaintiff attended the parish where Attea was a minister. The abuse occurred on the premises of the church of St. James, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit argues that the parish has “long known” that there have been countless examples of priests sexually abusing children throughout history, yet “negligently, recklessly and willfully failed to protect Plaintiff from sexual abuse by Msgr. Attea,” let the abuse happen, failed in supervising Attea, failed to investigate Attea’s conduct in a timely manner, failed to warn kids and parents about the risk of sexual abuse in their institution and facilities, failed to teach kids and parents how to minimize or avoid this risk, failed to identify signs of sexual abuse, grooming or sexual predators, and failed to report any suspicion that minors were being abused. The lawsuit argues the plaintiff was abused because of all of these failures.

“Plaintiff’s relationship to [the parish] as a vulnerable child, and the culture of the Catholic church which [the parish] endorsed, put pressure on Plaintiff not to report Msgr. Attea’s abuse,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims that not only was the parish aware of child sex abuse, but it actively covered it up by moving abusive priests and clergy members “such as Msgr. Attea” from assignment to assignment.

“The sexual abuse of Plaintiff by Msgr. Attea was foreseeable,” the lawsuit argues, adding the parish “knew or should have known of Msgr. Attea’s acts of child sexual abuse on other minors.”

The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff suffered from physical and mental pain and suffering, emotional distress, psychological injury, fear, anxiety, a prevention from doing everyday things, a deprivation of enjoyment of life, a loss of spirituality, loss of earnings and earning capacity, and medical and psychological treatment bills as a result of the sexual abuse.

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages based on numerous causes of action, including negligent hiring, retention, supervision and direction, negligent, reckless and willful misconduct, negligent infliction of emotional distress, premises liability, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty in loco parentis and breach of statutory duties to report.


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