Area Catholic churches named in sexual abuse lawsuits

Lawsuits have been filed against at least two Chautauqua County churches in Erie County Supreme Court on Wednesday as part of the Child Victims Act that allows victims of childhood sex abuse to bring civil complaints against their abusers.

One of the churches in located in Jamestown while the other is in Forestville.

One suit, filed in Erie County Supreme Court, names the Buffalo Diocese, St. John’s Church, Holy Apostles Parish and others associated with the church as defendants.

The victim, according to their attorney — Stephen Boyd of Williamsville — reported to be the subject of “unpermitted sexual contact” by the Rev. Francis T. Hogan at the 508 Cherry St. church between 1948 and 1949. The victim was 9 to 10 years old when the sexual abuse is alleged to have occurred.

Hogan was a Roman Catholic priest employed by the diocese and the parish.

“Defendants knew of should have known that Fr. Hogan was a danger to children before Fr. Hogan sexually assaulted Plaintiff,” the suit states.

The suit also claims that the church, now known as the Holy Apostles Parish, in addition to the diocese failed to report known or suspected abuse of children by Hogan.

“As a direct result of Defendants’ negligence as described herein, Plaintiff has suffered, and will continue to suffer, great pain of mind and body, severe and permanent emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, humiliation, physical, personal and psychological injuries,” the suit claims.

The other church named in a lawsuit Wednesday is Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, formerly St. Rose of Lima, 11 Center St., Forestville. St. The victim, according to their attorney, was reportedly subjected to sexual abuse by the Rev. John Kempczynski, a priest assigned to the parish, between 1971 and 1972. The victim was between 6 and 7 years old at the time of the abuse.

Wednesday was the first day in which victims of childhood sex abuse could file lawsuits against their abusers and institutions. It is expected that hundreds of suits could be filed in Western New York.