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March 24, 2019

Four Christian Brothers outed for sex abuse

February 22, 2019
Reverend Patrick O’Toole in 1982. (Anthony Pescatore / New York Daily News)

The identities of four more New York and Westchester-area clerics accused of sexual abuse were made public Thursday by lawyers demanding Timothy Cardinal Dolan release names of any other alleged perpetrators that remain hidden.

Three of the newly revealed clerics — Michael Kevin John, Patrick O’Toole and Robert Louis Pavlica — worked under the Irish Christian Brothers order, according to Jeff Anderson, whose law firm represented their alleged victims.

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The fourth cleric, the Rev. John Paddack, worked for the New York Archdiocese. But during the 1990s, he was a priest at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, which was overseen by the Irish Christian Brothers. Paddack has also served as a principal at Msgr. Farrell High School and a teacher at St. Joseph-by-the-Sea High School in Staten Island, as well as a pastor at the Notre Dame parish in Manhattan, according to Catholic New York.

“We represented survivors against each of these four individuals in claims brought against the Irish Christian Brothers,” said Anderson. “In each of these claims, they received settlement funds from the Irish Christian Brothers.”

Anderson said the claim forms with the names of the four clerics are under seal according to the protocols of federal bankruptcy proceedings.

The Irish Christian Brothers, now more commonly known as the Congregation of Christian Brothers, has traditionally focused on teaching children. The order filed for bankruptcy in 2011 amid mounting sexual abuse claims.

A judge in Manhattan federal bankruptcy court approved settlements totaling more than $16 million for more than 400 alleged victims.

The three clerics named Thursday by Anderson worked for the Irish Christian Brothers in local Catholic schools for decades, according to Trusha Patel Goffe, a lawyer at Anderson’s firm. Michael Kevin John worked at Blessed Sacrament High School in New Rochelle in the late 1970’s. Pavlica worked at the Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle in the ‘60’s. And O’Toole was at Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx during the ‘90s, she said.

Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling declined to comment on the Irish Christian Brothers, but said names of “any” cleric accused of abuse have been shared with the state attorney general and the district attorneys who serve each of the ten counties that fall within the diocese.

He noted an allegation against Paddack was examined by the archdiocese’s Lay Review Board and was not substantiated.

“When a bishop, priest, or deacon is removed from an assignment following an accusation of abuse, the parish community is notified, and a story is published in Catholic New York, the archdiocesan newspaper,” he said. “If the allegation is found to be substantiated by our review board, parishioners of the priest or deacon’s former assignments are also notified, always with a request that people contact their district attorney to report any criminal behavior.”

A spokesman for the Irish Christian Brothers said the bankruptcy settlements did not mean any allegations against the clerics were substantiated.

“The bankruptcy settlement structure did not include testing the merits of each claim, but rather focused on settling the bankruptcy claims,” the spokesman said. “As part of the non-monetary conditions of the settlement, the Christian Brothers agreed to list for a 10-year period, starting in 2014, the names of those members with two or more allegations.”

The clerics named Thursday do not appear on that list.

According to the spokesman, John and Pavlica left the order more than 35 years ago, and O’Toole is no longer in active ministry.

The revelation about the four priests came as the lawyers made public the names of 112 people accused of sexual misconduct against minors within the New York Archdiocese. Of those, 57 are believed to be alive, 42 deceased and the whereabouts of 13 unknown, they said.

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