Three former priests at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Central High School are accused of sexually abusing kids in the 1970’s. the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is named as a defendant in a lawsuit.
The victim, who is now 61 years-old, claims he suffered severe physical and psychological abuse leading to severe depression, migraines, PTSD, and anxiety.
The accused are former priests, David Pichette, who was a teacher at Catholic Central, Thomas Zedar who served as the school’s principal and later the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Broome Count, and Robert Kloster who was the rector at Saint Thomas
The alleged abuse began in 1969 when the victim claims he was an alter boy and that Father Kloster kept him after services and subjected him to unwanted hugging and kissing. The suit claims the abuse worsened in 1973 when the victim entered what was then known as Catholic Central.
Pichette is accused of taking the victim to a cabin in McGraw where he gave him beer and then raped him.
Zedar’s abuse allegedly began during the teenager’s junior year when the priest became principal at the school.
The suit alleges that Zedar would take the boy to his home next door to the school at lunch time where he allegedly got him drunk and forcibly raped him.
The Diocese is accused in the lawsuit of transferring the priests to different parishes and schools in an effort to cover up their sex crimes.
In a statement, the Diocese says, “We continue to pray for the healing of those who have been harmed in the past and continue to be vigilant in our safe environment protocols in order that this very dark chapter in the Church will never happen again.”