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Brooklyn Press Conference on Child Victims Act 8/14/19


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PRESS CONFERENCE TO BE HELD                                   CONTACT: Eva Herman

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2019 (11:00 AM)                       (305) 778-3388

Kings County Supreme Court (Details Below)                         www.hermanlaw.com


Filings Coincide With the Opening of the One-Year Window Under the Child Victims Act; Diocese of Brooklyn, Boy Scouts Named in First Three Suits

Brooklyn, NY— Sex abuse victim’s attorney Krisel McSweeney will hold a press conference on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 announcing and discussing the filing of three lawsuits against multiple New York institutions. The press conference and the filing of the suits coincides with the opening of the window for filing claims under the New York Child Victims Act. McSweeney willdiscuss the three cases being filed Wednesday along with the impact of this legislation on future claims that will be filed by other child victims. McSweeney will be available to answer questions from media outlets.

The cases being filed Wednesday offer a small glimpse at the depth of the child sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Please see below for a short summary of each case to be discussed:

  • The first suit involves William LaRocca, who was a 12-year-old boy who attended St. Theresa of Lisieux (translated to St. Theresa Little Flower) with his family in Brooklyn, NY in or about 1970. At the age of 12, the perpetrator, Father Francis Gillen, convinced his mother to allow him to go with him to a lake house in Lake Ronkonkoma, LI. When William arrived at the lake house, he saw many other priests having a party. He was given vodka and orange juice until he became drunk and passed out. He has memories of being forcefully fondled in his private area and digitally penetrated in his rectum by Gillen. William blacked out and believes more sexual abuse occurred. He was there for a total of three days.
  • The second suit is being filed on behalf of R.C is against the Boy Scouts of America. In or about 1957, when R.C. was only 11 years old, he was sexually assaulted by his scoutmaster, George Cavanagh. George Cavanagh performed oral sex on R.C. during a boy scout outing and threatened him not to disclose the sexual abuse to anyone. Prior to the sexual assault, other scoutmasters knew of George Cavanagh’s inappropriate contact with children and grooming tactics. The Boy Scouts of America has known for years that sexual predators and pedophiles infiltrated their organization as volunteers, leaders, and scoutmasters. This is just an example of one of the many sexual assault incidents suffered by a young boy scout member.
  • The third suit is being filed on behalf of S.H. – S.H.’s case is against the Diocese of Brooklyn for transferring and reassigning Father William Authenrieth to All Souls Church in Sanford, Florida, knowing that he was a sexual predator who had abused young boys during his assignment at St. Vincent Catholic Church in Brooklyn, NY. Resultantly, S.H. was sexually abused by Authenrieth on several occasions as an altar boy of All Souls Church.

These suits would not have been possible without the New York Legislature’s passing of the Child Victims Act earlier this year. As a result of the Child Victims Act’s one-year window, victims must swiftly assess and prepare any potential claims they may have against the entities responsible for their abuse. Herman Law represents hundreds of victims of childhood sexual abuse in New York, many of whom have been victims of the widespread problem of sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

In anticipation of the opening of the filing window, Herman Law has constructed itsown “Predator Priest Index” (PPI), which lists over 500 accused priests in New York State compiled through the firm’s own investigations and outside sources. Herman Law will begin filing claims against the church, along with the claims of child victims seeking justice against non-church entities responsible for enabling abusers, in the proper New York courts beginning Wednesday.

The press conference will be held Wednesday, August 14th at 11:00 AM in Columbus Park, facing the steps of the Kings County Supreme Court (near the intersection of Cadman Plaza West and Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201).


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.

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