Victims react after bankruptcy court judge allows sexual abuse claims against Rochester Catholic Diocese to move forward

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – In a 16-page ruling, a bankruptcy court judge ruled against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester’s attempts to stop sexual-abuse survivors from suing parishes and other diocese-related establishments.

More than two years ago, the statute of limitations to file claims ran out for a group of sexual abuse survivors in New York under the Child Victim’s Act but now after a Judge’s ruling, they can proceed with their cases.

Today News10NBC spoke with the co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, who has been helping about a dozen victims and families from the Rochester area.

"Victims are thrilled,” Robert Hoatson said. “They’re thrilled. Now, they’re a little bit wary because they think one of the things about being a child abuse victim is we don’t trust anybody. So when something like this comes up, it regenerates all of that trauma."

After three years of fighting, plaintiffs can now move forward with sexual abuse claims against the diocese of Rochester.

“And now individual victims are going to be able to take the entity that abuse, that meaning the place, the institution, the priest, the person to court. And to get whatever justice they deserved through the courts,” Hoatson said.

There are more than 400 claims against parishes from victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
“This is what we’ve been wanting and waiting for and hoping would eventually happen and we were very. All of us are very pleased with the judge’s decision,” survivor Carol Dupre said.

Dupre said she was molested in the early 60s by a priest while serving at St Gregory’s Catholic Church in Marion and said this is a step forward from the "delaying tactics" from the church.

“When you’ve been violated in this way and they know it and they knew it and weren’t doing anything about it, I think it’s what gives us the stamina to keep moving forward,” Dupre said Not the dollar signs.”

In a statement, The Diocese of Rochester said in part, "The diocese is studying the court’s ruling, and intends to continue to work toward a plan of reorganization that will provide all survivors with fair compensation for the injuries they suffered as children."

“I don’t think that the Catholic Church is excited about having 473 cases lined up you know,” Dupre said. “But if that’s what has to happen, then we would start in that direction.”

Hoatson said most victims have already filed and now they can move the process along by getting calendar dates with the court.