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New York survivors call for state clergy abuse summit

February 25, 2019 By David Brand Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Survivors of clergy sex abuse demonstrate at the Vatican. AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
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A day after the Vatican concluded a conference to address the Catholic church’s international clergy sex abuse crisis, New York survivors called for local bishops to organize their own state forum.

Earlier this month, the Brooklyn Diocese released the names of 108 clergy members who have been “credibly” accused of abuse. Last week, attorney Jeff Anderson and survivors of clergy abuse unveiled another list of 112 clergy members accused of abusing, raping and molesting children and other parishioners.

Staten Island resident Anthony Raiola, 55, grew up in Brooklyn and said he was abused by his high school principal at Bishop Ford Catholic School in Windsor Terrace. Raiola called on the state’s Catholic leaders to hold the conference and for the Vatican to investigate the destruction of records related to clergy sex abuse.

“The Church has knowingly allowed for abuse against minors to go on for far too long. No child deserves to suffer the pain and trauma I, and so many others like me, experienced,” said Raiola. “The Church must be forced to change its ways so that future generations do not fall prey to the same tragic abuse.”

Manhattan resident Rafael Mendoza, 37, grew up in Queens and said he was abused by a guidance counselor, a priest, at his Catholic high school.

“We are calling for zero tolerance within the Church for members of the clergy who abuse minors and for those who cover up this abuse,” said Mendoza. “The Church has failed to protect children, and we will no longer be silent to the rampant and widespread abuse that continues to take place.”

The Vatican’s four-day conference ran from Thursday to Sunday and attracted survivors and their advocates from the around the world. Critics, however, said that the landmark conference did not result in any concrete actions.

The Brooklyn Diocese and the Archdiocese of New York responded but did not immediately provide a statement for this story.

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