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Largest Ever Priest Abuse Settlement Reached in Brooklyn

Largest Ever Priest Abuse Settlement Reached in Brooklyn

The Diocese of Brooklyn has agreed to pay four individuals $27.5 million for sexual abuse.  The boys were abused by a lay teacher 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.

According to the NY Daily News, “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.”

The Daily News reports that “Serrano, 67, was a daily presence at the church from 1997 to his arrest in 2009. He helped with catechism classes, volunteered at a summer camp and lived in a former church schoolhouse next door that had been converted into apartments. He identified himself to parishioners as the director of religious education. Speakers from the church pulpit often referred families to Serrano for help arranging a baptism or confirmation.

The abuse occurred inside the church, at his apartment and at an after-school program, according to the judge’s decision. The Diocese of Brooklyn announced the church would close in 2010.”

This time the Catholic Church is in trouble because priests allowed a lay person to abuse children.   One of the parish priests admitted he didn’t do enough to monitor Serrano but you have to wonder why the priest would be so careless with children, especially when there were so many signs that Serrano was a bad apple and a danger to children.

Another black eye for the Catholic Church.

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