Lawsuit Filed Against Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Erie County
Posted on: April 9, 2020 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse
A childhood victim of priest sex abuse at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and Holy Trinity School filed a civil lawsuit in Erie County Supreme Court of New York. This New York Catholic Church lawsuit, filed in September of 2019, was filed against the Diocese of Buffalo and claims Monsignor Valerio Bernardo, a pastor of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and Holy Trinity School, abused the plaintiff during the late 1960s when she was about five years old. The plaintiff and her family were parishioners at Holy Trinity Church and she was a student at Holy Trinity School.
The court filing revealed that Pastor Bernardo would regularly spend time alone with children of the parish and school to mentor, discipline, and counsel them. According to the filing:
Beginning in or about 1964, when plaintiff was 5 years old, Msgr. Bernardo routinely took plaintiff out of her classroom at defendant Holy Trinity School and brought her into a bathroom and to another area on school or church premises where he could be alone with her . . . At the aforementioned time and place, Msgr. Bernardo engaged in unpermitted, forcible and harmful sexual contact with plaintiff. This sexual abuse, which was a regular and repeat occurrence until approximately 1968-1969, occurred on the premises of defendants Holy Trinity Church and Holy Trinity School. Plaintiff’s relationship to defendants as a vulnerable child and student, and the culture of the Catholic Church which defendants endorsed, put pressure on plaintiff not to report the sexual molestation and abuse.
This lawsuit against the Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and the Diocese of Buffalo goes further and targets officials who knew, or ignorantly dismissed, the idea that Pastor Bernardo was committing sexual abuse against children in the parish community and attending Holy Trinity School.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time news regarding sexual abuse committed by priests within the New York Diocese has come to light. Again, we see the disturbing and over-arching theme of a Catholic Church sexual abuse ‘cover-up’ policy implemented by the church for decades. Now, with the help of the newly passed Child Victims Act in the state of New York, victims of priest sex abuse can seek justice.
The entire article can be viewed here.
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