Four boys who said they were abused by a perverted volunteer catechism teacher at a Catholic church have reached a $27.5 million settlement with the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The agreement is believed to be the largest settlement ever on behalf of an individual arising out of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, according to attorneys Ben Rubinowitz and Peter Saghir. Each boy will receive $6.9 million.
The young victims were abused by Angelo Serrano, who worked at St. Lucy-St. Patrick Catholic Church in Clinton Hill from 2003 to 2009, according to a release. Serrano pleaded guilty in 2011 to inappropriate course of sexual conduct with a child and is serving a 15-year sentence.
A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge wrote that two priests at the small, now-shuttered church, Rev. Frank Shannon and Rev. Stephen Lynch, had ignored glaring red flags about Serrano’s depravity.
“Lynch and Shannon had knowledge that for years Serrano often had several boys … sleep over at his apartment,” Justice Loren Baily-Schiffman wrote.
“The record in this case at bar is replete with evidence of Serrano’s inappropriate behavior with sexual implications that continued for years even after he was told to stop.”
Lynch also testified that he saw Serrano kiss an 8- or 9-year-old boy on the lips, the judge wrote.
A church secretary, Beatrice Ponnelle, said she frequently told Serrano not to let boys sit on his lap, to no avail. He was often left alone with boys in a church office.
“Some of these boys were in second grade when the abuse started. The abuse continued for months and years. This should never have happened,” Rubinowitz said.
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