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Ex-Cardinal McCarrick, depraved Boy Scout leaders and notorious Rockefeller U. doctor among first wave of Child Victims Act lawsuits

2019-08-15

Dr. Reginald Archibald is pictured in an undated photo.

A rogues gallery of notorious alleged abusers and institutions were among those named in the first wave of lawsuits filed Wednesday under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick abused the first boy he ever baptized, one suit alleged. Four men charged they were victims of perv Scoutmasters or leaders while in the Boy Scouts, which refuses to turn over its “perversion files,” another suit alleged. Over 40 people said they were abused as minors by Rockefeller University Hospital Dr. Reginald Archibald from the 1960s to 1990.

“Child sexual abuse is a real epidemic. It’s been in the corners and in the shadows, but it is much more widespread than people want to admit,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The Child Victims Act says if you were sexually abused as a child, you have a right to justice and to make your case. Children have legal rights, and if you abuse a child, you’re going to have your day in court and you’re going to be called to answer for it.”

Attorneys Paul Mones, center left, and Mariann Wang, center, addresses the press as More than a dozen victims of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by Dr. Reginald Archibald, a pediatrician endocrinologist of Rockefeller University hold a press conference responding to Rockefeller?s attorneys at the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel in Manhattan on Thursday, June 20, 2019.
Attorneys Paul Mones, center left, and Mariann Wang, center, addresses the press as More than a dozen victims of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by Dr. Reginald Archibald, a pediatrician endocrinologist of Rockefeller University hold a press conference responding to Rockefeller?s attorneys at the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel in Manhattan on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Byron Smith/for New York Daily News)

When courthouses closed at 5 p.m., 169 lawsuits under the Child Victims Act had been filed in the city, a court spokesman said. The most lawsuits by borough were filed in Manhattan, with 94. Next was Brooklyn, with 55, followed by 11 in the Bronx, six in Queens and three in Staten Island. Another 258 cases were filed outside the city.

The avalanche of suits came on the first day of a one-year window that allows victims of child sexual assault to bring claims against their alleged abusers that were previously barred by the statute of limitations. Attorney Jeff Herman, who said he was filing dozens of suits around the state, estimated that about 60% will be against the Catholic Church. He predicted that many survivors, after seeing the initial wave of lawsuits, will be inspired to come out of the shadows. Some might tell family for the first time they were abused. Others, he predicted, would find the courage to take their claims to court.

“There will be a collective empowerment that will enable victims to come forward,” he said.

Attorneys Jeff Herman (l.) and Krisel McSweeney (r.) are pictured holding a new conference in front of 60 Centre St on August 14, 2019 in New York. They announced their filing of lawsuits under the Child Victims Act.
Attorneys Jeff Herman (l.) and Krisel McSweeney (r.) are pictured holding a new conference in front of 60 Centre St on August 14, 2019 in New York. They announced their filing of lawsuits under the Child Victims Act. (Alec Tabak/for New York Daily News)

One of the victims coming forward was James Grein, 61, who said he was abused as a boy by McCarrick. The now-defrocked cardinal molested Grein between 1971 and 1976, beginning when he was 12, according to the suit. At a press conference at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grein said he confessed to Pope John Paul II in 1988 that McCarrick had been abusing him. The pontiff responded with a blank stare and absolved him of his sins, Grein said.

New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling noted that despite all the lawsuits, the archdiocese continues “to invite people to consider our successful program to bring compensation quickly to qualified claimants through the archdiocesan Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.”

“We ask that people pray for peace and healing for all those who have suffered from the sin and crime of the sexual abuse of minors, wherever it occurred, particularly victim-survivors and their families,” he said.

Other institutions also faced shocking allegations. Raul Diaz and three other men alleged the Boy Scouts was withholding decades of “perversion files” on predators within the organization.

“(Boy Scouts of America) has tried to keep the ‘perversion’ files a secret. Even worse, for many years the BSA had a policy of destroying ‘perversion’ files even though the files could have helped the BSA understand how so many sexual predators were able to use its Scouting program to groom and to sexually abuse children,” the suit reads.

Rockefeller University also faced at least three lawsuits over Dr. Archibald, who died in 2007. The perv was thought to be a distinguished physician with expertise in human growth hormone. In reality, he was “a monster masquerading as a doctor," according to Herman, who filed one of the suits. Archibald’s victims may number in the thousands.

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Even the city Education Department was hit with a lawsuit. Auset Love, 45, said her former teacher at Public School 189 in Brooklyn, Jean Pamphile, routinely physically and sexually abused her starting in 1983, without consequences.

“If the New York public school system had protected me from a dangerous predator 35 years ago, I would not be speaking with you today,” Love said at a press conference outside city Education Department headquarters.

Pamphile retired in 2004 and could not be reached.

“Every survivor deserves to be heard, and we have clear policies to ensure any allegation is immediately reported, investigated, and addressed," Education spokeswoman Danielle Filson said.

With Michael Gartland and Michael Elsen-Rooney