FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: SAM HERMAN
October 16, 2018 305-931-2200
PRESS CONFERENCE TOMORROW www.hermanlaw.com
VICTIM’S ATTORNEY, JEFF HERMAN, ANNOUNCES FILING OF LAWSUIT AGAINST CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK AND DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
FORMER BISHOP OF CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ROCKVILLE CENTRE TRANSFERRED PEDOPHILE PRIEST TO FLORIDA WHERE HE SEXUALLY ABUSED A CHILD. THE BISHOPS AT BOTH DIOCESES WERE AWARE THAT THE PRIEST HAD BEEN ACCUSED OF MOLESTING A CHILD, YET NO ACTION WAS TAKEN
Boca Raton, Florida– Attorneys representing Mark Cattell, a victim of child sexual abuse allegedly committed by Father Robert D. Huneke, will hold a press conference on Wednesday, October 17, announcing the filing of a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York and the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida.
According to the lawsuit filed today by Mr. Herman:
- From approximately 1969-1974, Father Huneke was assigned to St. Dominic’s parish in Oyster Bay, Long Island, a parish in the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre. There, he sexually molested a boy, John Salveson (note: not a party in this lawsuit), over a period of years beginning when Mr. Salveson was 13 years old.
- In 1980, Mr. Salveson wrote a letter to the then-Bishop of Rockville Centre John McGann, alerting Bishop McGann of the sexual abuse in the hopes that the Bishop would take action and prevent Father Huneke from sexually abusing boys in the future.
- Bishop McGann, after meeting with Father Huneke, wrote back to Mr. Salveson, stating that “Father Huneke acknowledged his responsibility and assured me that he has been receiving counseling and spiritual direction and that this matter has not been a problem for over a period of approximately two years.” Bishop McGann took no other action against Father Huneke.
- Father Huneke was subsequently transferred from the Diocese of Rockville Centre to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida, where he became a priest at Christ the King Church and Christ the King School.
- Salveson, the child who was molested in New York, learned of this transfer and wrote a letter to the then-Bishop of St. Petersburg, William Larkin, alerting him that he was sexually abused by Father Huneke. Bishop Larkin responded by letter and advised Mr. Salveson that he did not know “whether [Father Huneke] is undergoing any kind of therapy but will look into the matter.” Upon information and belief, Bishop Larkin did nothing in response to Mr. Salveson’s report.
- In 1981, Plaintiff Mark Cattell, who was at the time a 9 year old parishioner at Christ the King Church and a student Christ the King School was sexually abused on multiple occasions by Father Huneke. Specifically, Father Huneke fondled Cattell’s penis on multiple occasions and forced Cattell to perform oral sex on him.
On October 16, 2018, Mark Cattell filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Rockville Centre and the Diocese of St. Petersburg in the Middle District of Florida, Case No. 8:18-cv-02543. Mr. Cattell’s attorney, Jeff Herman, called this lawsuit, “another heartbreaking example of the Catholic Church protecting pedophile priests instead of children. These horrific acts should have never happened. For too long, the Church has been able to hide behind the statute of limitations to avoid responsibility. This case shows why the statute of limitations must be amended nationwide to hold institutions accountable for protecting sexual predators.”
The Press Conference will be held Wednesday (tomorrow), October 17th at 1:00 P.M. outside of the Diocese of St. Petersburg – 6363 9th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33710.
Mr. Herman will be present with copies of the letters between Mr. Salveson and the two bishops discussing the sexual abuse by Father Huneke.
Herman Law is a law firm for victims of sexual abuse across the nation. The firm is led by its founder Jeff Herman, who is recognized as one of the country’s leading attorneys for child victims of sexual abuse. The firm has obtained over $200 Million in verdicts and settlements. Jeff has developed a national reputation for his powerful advocacy and unwavering dedication to his clients. Herman Law is committed to empowering victims of sexual abuse to take back their lives and begin the healing process.