Dolan Defies Demands of Survivors, Provides Safe Harbor and Continuing Cover-Up for Monsignor John Paddack
Accounts of 11 Known Survivors Paint Grim Portrait of Systemic Abuse and Cover-up Across Multiple Assignments for 19 Consecutive Years in Archdiocese
(New York, NY) – Today, on behalf of four brave survivors, attorneys from the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates filed four new child sexual abuse complaints under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) against the Archdiocese of New York, naming Monsignor John Paddack as a perpetrator. Despite being publicly named as a perpetrator of child sexual abuse by eleven (11) known survivors, Paddack has remained in active ministry under Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
“These lawsuits demonstrate Paddack’s pattern of predation: in each instance, exploiting his clerical power to abuse children,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “By allowing Paddack to continue to function as a priest, Cardinal Dolan is choosing the protection of predators over the protection of children in his flock.”
The four complaints filed today span a period of 16 years:
- One alleges abuse at Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island from approximately 2002 to 2003, when the plaintiff was approximately 14 to 15 years old
- One alleges abuse at Incarnation in New York from approximately 1995 to 1997, when the plaintiff was approximately 13 to 14 years old
- One alleges abuse at Incarnation and Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx from approximately 1990 to 1993, when the plaintiff was 13 to 16 years old
- One alleges abuse at Incarnation from approximately 1987 to 1990, when the plaintiff was 11 to 14 years old
Cardinal Dolan’s History of Secrecy, Silence & Protection of Paddack
As with many prolific perpetrators within the ranks of the Catholic Church, the truth of Paddack’s systemic abuse was kept secret by his superiors until survivors began speaking out and taking legal action. “Paddack’s history of abuse and Dolan’s protection of Paddack are inextricably intertwined,” said Anderson. “Each complaint, each survivor who comes forward, opens a new chapter of an increasingly sorrowful saga.”
December 14, 2012: First Claim Filed Naming Paddack as a Child Sexual Abuser
In 2012, Jeff Anderson & Associates represented 92 sexual abuse survivors who filed claims in the Irish Christian Brothers’ Bankruptcy. One survivor who filed a claim in this bankruptcy case reported abuse by Msgr. Paddack, who was his guidance counselor at Cardinal Hayes High School (the Bronx) and abused him in approximately 1994. According to Church officials, the Archdiocese investigated the accusation and deemed it unsubstantiated.
Paddack Named Publicly By Jeff Anderson & Associates
In September 2018, following the close of an Independent Compensation Program for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy within the Archdiocese of New York that resulted in nearly 295 survivors coming forward with reports of abuse by diocesan clergy, the New York Times published an article detailing Dolan’s appointment of “a former federal judge to review how the Archdiocese of New York handles cases of sexual abuse of minors and sexual harassment of adults.” When asked why the Archdiocese of New York had not published a comprehensive list of priests who have been credibly accused of abuse Cardinal Dolan stated, “I, for one, don’t exactly see why we should because the names are already out there,” adding that the Archdiocese has released all the names of abusive priests over the years one by one.
In response to this, Jeff Anderson & Associates conducted thorough research of publicly-available information to identify more than 100 priests publicly accused of sexual abuse of minors who worked within in the Archdiocese. Among those identified was Msgr. John Paddack. On February 22, 2019, Paddack was identified publicly by the firm as a cleric accused of child sexual abuse.
It wasn’t until April 26, 2019, under mounting pressure from dozens of survivors bringing sexual abuse claims under the Child Victims Act against the Archdiocese, that Dolan finally released an official list of 120 Archdiocesan Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor, more than half of whom were deceased. Paddack was not included on this list, nor was he removed from ministry or his residence at the Church of Notre Dame.
Survivor Joe Caramanno Speaks Out, Dolan Allows Paddack to Quietly Resign
At a press conference on June 16, 2019, Joseph Caramanno spoke publicly for the first time about his abuse by Paddack while a student at St. Joseph by the Sea High School (Staten Island), where Paddack was assigned from 1999 to 2003. At the time of the press conference, seven (7) others had levied complaints of sexual abuse by Paddack, who was still an active pastor at the Church of Notre Dame.
Two weeks later, the Archdiocese released Msgr. Paddack’s resignation letter. Addressed to his parishioners, Paddack acknowledged the press conference and news reports concerning the allegations of sexual abuse. “After consultation with Cardinal Dolan,” he writes, “I have decided to step away from my role as Pastor here at Notre Dame, and will not be publicly exercising any priestly ministry while this matter is being reviewed.” Paddack consequently retreated to the rectory of the Church of Notre Dame where he continued to enjoy his clerical privilege and the position.
Caramanno would appear before the press again on July 16, 2019 to announce a complaint against the Archdiocese for maintaining and concealing the public hazard of sexually abusive priests, including Msgr. Paddack. “Cardinal Dolan has frequently mentioned that he is losing the trust of the people, and without that trust of the people he doesn’t have much left,” said Caramanno. “One thing he can do to regain some of that trust is to give us the names, the whereabouts [of know perpetrators]…I hope that through this that we can get some answers and move on.” Dolan has yet to provide anything close to the asked level of transparency and accountability.
The New York Child Victims Act Presents New Path to Justice for Paddack Survivors
On August 14, 2019, the historic New York Child Victims Act took effect, temporarily lifting the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse and allowing survivors of any age to bring civil claims against their abusers and the institutions who may have protected the perpetrators. Abuse complaints came pouring in from previously time-barred survivors, including 45 complaints filed by Jeff Anderson & Associates against the Archdiocese the day the law took effect. That number has since increased to 184 in the Archdiocese alone; 10 of these complaints name Msgr. Paddack as a perpetrator.
Dolan Dodges Questions, Asks Al Jazeera Reporter “Are You Going to Hang a Priest Because of a Press Conference?”
On October 23, 2019, Aljazeera English released “In Bad Faith: Child Sex Abuse and the Catholic Church”, which not only shares the story of several of Paddack’s survivors (including Caramanno), but directly confronts Archbishop Dolan about Paddack.
“It’s all in the past,” says Dolan, turning his back on reporter Natasha Del Toro. ”It’s all being investigated [internally] – so drop it.” When asked if he’s willing to put children in harm’s way in light of the multiple accusations of child sex abuse, Dolan replies, “Are you going to hang a priest because of a press conference?”
At the conclusion of the investigation, Del Toro visits Paddack at the Notre Dame Rectory where he claims to be picking up his mail.
Today: Four More Survivors Come Forward
According to Anderson, each of the four survivors bringing lawsuits today is doing more than exposing Paddack’s legacy of abusing children entrusted to his care. Their truth, individually and together, puts the spotlight directly on the choices of Cardinal Dolan – the same choices he’s made for years and continues to make today – to put the interests of Paddack, the Archdiocese, and himself before the wellbeing of these survivors, his parishioners, and the children of New York.
“It’s time for a reckoning,” Anderson said. “It’s time for the Archbishop to come clean.”