WATCH: Under Cover of Darkness




 

New Sexual Cover-Ups Indict Cardinal Dolan, Bishop Dimarzio and the Vatican

Newly-emerged revelations about sexual cover-ups by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and former Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio are teaching seminarian abuse victims that they cannot trust their superiors to rid their seminaries of sexual predators. A recent Associated Press (AP) article,  “Long after pope’s abuse summit, victims still traumatized by the system meant to address their cases,” spotlights how seminarians are hit with the reality that “the church’s in-house system to deal with abuse isn’t working” and are turning to the police and civil courts to address their abuse cases mishandled by Church officials.

The cover-ups and retaliation that victimized seminarians experienced have once again come to light in a new lawsuit filed by a former seminarian against the Brooklyn Diocese and the Brooklyn Oratory; in newly revealed sex abuse accusations against New York Archdiocese Vocations Director, Father George Sears; and in the cases of a growing number of other seminarians who were forced to bring their clerical abusers to court.

A scathing lawsuit never before reported in the media recounts how Timothy Passow, a former seminarian at Brooklyn’s Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip, was allegedly sexually assault by his novice master, Father Michael Callaghan, and was shown the door by Church leaders after making multiple reports. Among multiple episodes of felonious abuse, the lawsuit recounts an incident in 2021 where Callaghan reportedly pushed Passow against a wall and “began gyrating and grinding on him from behind.”  The lawsuit also alleges that Callaghan entered Passow’s bedroom to grope him, an assault which Passow tried to escape by pushing Callaghan’s hand away and rolling over to make him stop.  According to the lawsuit, Callaghan tried to warn Passow against speaking out by frequently making comments such as, “what happens in this house stays in this house.”  After Passow reported Callaghan to Church leaders and the Vatican, Church officials did nothing to halt Callaghan’s alleged abuse and compelled Passow to leave the seminary. Independent evidence supporting Passow’s claims showed that Callaghan downloaded and used gay dating apps (Grindr, Growlr).

Passow’s lawsuit against Callaghan comes amid new evidence showing that Bishop DiMarzio and Cardinal Dolan failed to remove Archdiocese of New York priest, Father George Sears, after sex abuse accusations against him were reported more than four years ago.  Until recent media reports, the public was never informed that Sears, who headed Cathedral Seminary in the Brooklyn Diocese from 2015-2021, is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a seminarian and retaliating against him after he filed a criminal police report.  In graphic detail, the seminarian maintains that Sears would allegedly enter his locked bedroom at night, touch him under his clothes, and put his hand inside the seminarian’s underwear to touch his “privates.”  According to the seminarian, when he rejected and tried to escape the alleged assaults, Sears reportedly became infuriated and coerced him not to speak out lest he be thrown out of the seminary and never be ordained.  After Church leaders allowed Sears’ alleged abuse to continue by failing to act upon multiple reports, the seminarian filed a criminal police report.  The seminarian states that just two days later, DiMarzio and Sears retaliated against him for filing the police report by throwing him out of the seminary.  While the seminarian was shown the door, Cardinal Dolan promoted Sears to become the New York Archdiocese’s Vocations Director. Other Cathedral Seminarians have since come forward to substantiate the alleged victim’s case.

The sexual scandals involving Fathers Callaghan and Sears bring renewed scrutiny upon Cardinal Dolan’ history of covering up sexual abuse in seminaries.  In 2021, a bombshell lawsuit revealed Cardinal Dolan’s role in a scheme to retaliate against seminarians at the Pontifical North American College (NAC) in Rome who objected to sexual harassment by then-vice-rector, Father Adam Park.  Rather than act upon credible reports against Park, Dolan ended the vocations of whistleblower seminarians by ensuring that they would never be ordained.  It was only after the sworn statements of multiple NAC seminarians against Dolan, Park, and then-rector Father Peter Harman were filed in civil Court and found “credible” by a former FBI Special Agent in Charge that Park and Harman stepped down from their posts in disgrace.   These NAC seminarians join a massive list of sex abuse and reprisal victims whose ordeals Dolan covered up throughout his decades-long career in St. Louis, Missouri; Washington D.C.; Rome; Milwaukee; and New York.

Abused former seminarians like Joshua Metcalf, who is suing the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford and Mahe Chouvenel who secured a guilty verdict against accused sexual predator Archbishop Luigi Ventura; along with whistleblower seminarians like Kamil Jarzembowski whose testimony led to the conviction of fellow predatory seminarian Gabriele Martinelli, have had no choice but to fight back in civil courtrooms after Church leaders sidelined their reports. Victims’ advocates maintain that the Vatican’s claims of “zero tolerance” ring hollow unless prelates who perpetrate or cover up abuse are defrocked and victims are finally given a chance to be heard.  Until Catholics demand accountability from their Church leaders, new priestly vocations will continue to be lost and credibly accused priests will continue to remain in ministry under cover of darkness.

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

Gene Thomas Gomulka is a sexual abuse victims’ advocate, investigative reporter, and screenwriter. A former Navy (O6) Captain/Chaplain, seminary instructor, and diocesan respect life director, Gomulka was ordained a priest for the Altoona-Johnstown diocese and later made a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by St. John Paul II. Follow Gene Gomulka on YouTube.

 

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