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New lawsuits filed against priests alleging decades of sex abuse of children

Approximately 40 new lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, alleging child sex abuse by priests spanning decades.  The suits claim that priests sexually abused children in parishes across New York, over the course of more than 50 years.

The lawsuits were filed under the New York State Child Victims Act.

Four priests are being sued by multiple people. Monsignor Charles Eckermann, who died in 2016, was removed from his position over allegations of child sex abuse of at least 4 children in 2014. The complaints of abuse span nearly 30 years: from 1958 to 1983. Eckermann was removed from the priesthood after the church found the allegations to be credible.

The second priest named in the lawsuit, Rev. Chester A. Misercola, is accused of abusing at least 3 minors when he was at Bishop Cunningham Catholic High School in Oswego between  1970 to 1992.

The third priest, Rev. Edward C. Marrow, is accused of sexually abusing 3 children in addition to the accusations by two others in suits previously filed.

The fourth priest, Rev. Bernard A. Garstka, is accused of sexually abusing at least 3 children during his time at St. Patrick in Taberg.

Danielle Cummings, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said the diocese has not seen the new lawsuits but that it takes every allegation of sexual abuse seriously. “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,” Cummings said in a statement.

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