WATCH: New York Vocations Director Accused of Seminarian Abuse

 
Disturbing new sex abuse and cover-up allegations have come to light implicating New York Archdiocese Vocations Director, Father George Sears; then-Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio; and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Father Sears, who was vice-rector and later rector at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, NY from 2015-2021, is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a seminarian and reprising against him after he filed a criminal police report.

According to the seminarian, while the other seminarians were away for Christmas break, Sears ordered him to vacate his room in the seminary residence and relocate to an isolated room adjacent to Sears’ office. The seminarian maintains that when he questioned the sudden move, he was given no explanation other than that it was an “order.” The isolated room, according to the seminarian, became a nightmare prison of constant abuse for nearly eight months. Sears allegedly entered his locked bedroom frequently and unannounced, often at night, to make relentless, unwelcomed sexual advances. The seminarian reports in graphic detail that Sears would sit on his bed, touch him under his clothes, and put his hand inside the seminarian’s underwear to touch his “privates.” Describing Sears as “very aggressive,” the seminarian states that he rejected the alleged advances and forced himself to stay awake at night out of fear that Sears would molest him while he was asleep.

Believing that he could trust the Church to act upon the matter, the seminarian recounts that he reported the alleged abuse to then-Bishop DiMarzio on multiple occasions and also to Pope Francis. The seminarian maintains that Sears, who went undisciplined in the face of egregious sexual assault allegations, became even more aggressive after he was reported.
The alleged abuse is said to have escalated during the seminary’s summer break while the seminarian was dining by himself in the refectory. According to the seminarian, Sears sat next to him when he was seated alone; forcibly squeezed his “privates;” and commanded him to obey whatever Sears demanded because of his authority as rector.

The seminarian filed a criminal police report, saying that he realized he would have no protection in the Church and feared Sears would escalate the alleged assaults even further. According to the seminarian, the police report only further enraged DiMarzio and Sears, who, just two days later, reportedly retaliated by having him forcibly evicted from the seminary and thrown into the street. The seminarian’s case has since drawn support and corroboration from other former Douglaston seminarians.

Despite the grave sexual abuse accusations against Sears, Cardinal Timothy Dolan promoted him to become the New York Archdiocese’s Vocations Director. To this day, Sears remains in authority over other vulnerable young men like the alleged abuse victim.

The Douglaston seminarian’s case brings renewed scrutiny to Bishop DiMarzio’s and Cardinal Dolan’s decades-long history of facing sexual scandals. The case also highlights how seminarians, as “vulnerable adults,” have routinely been subject to manipulation and sexual exploitation by superiors who demand obedience and have total control over their ability to achieve ordination.
Owing to the silence of complicit Church leaders, sex abuse experts lament that lay Catholics may never know the extent of the excruciating abuse many seminarians have endured to try to serve them as priests. Victims’ advocates urge Catholics who truly wish to “pray for vocations” to demand that seminarians be protected from clerics who may be “preying on vocations.”

Anyone who wishes to share additional information may write to Monsignor Gene Thomas Gomulka, clerical sex abuse victims’ advocate at msgr.investigations@gmail.com.

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