The governing body for the Jesuit order in the northeastern United States released a list last week of 50 priests under its jurisdiction, who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors. The list includes several priests from New York, including The Rev. Roy Drake who taught at both Fordham Prep and Fordham University in the Bronx. Other priests names on the list include The Rev. Peter Conroy.
Some of the accused, such as Father Peter Conroy, were previously named as child sex abusers by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in November. Conroy worked at Christ the King Retreat Center in Syracuse, owned by the Jesuits at the time, and at Fordham University and Canisius College.
All but 15 of the Roman Catholic priests on the list released are dead, and all of the alleged abuse all took place before 1997. There are victims who have been left in limbo, still waiting for justice and closure from the abuse. Neal Gumpel accuses the Rev. Roy Drake of sexually molesting him in 1973, when he was 16 years old and the Jesuit priest was teaching at the Marine Maritime Academy in Castine, Me. The Rev. Drake died three years after he was accused in 2005 of raping a 13-year-old prep student on the night before a school ski trip while a teacher at Fordham Prep.
Neal Gumpel’s wounds are not healed. He still waits for compensation over the abuse Rev. Roy committed. According to news reports, the night started innocently, but took a dark turn. He was allegedly plied with liquor and shown a pornographic movie featuring gay men. Eventually Rev. Roy allegedly sexually assaulted him violently in the kitchen. Gumpel kept it hidden, but the encounter shaped his entire life. According to Gumpel, it led to alcohol and drug abuse, and helped ruin his first marriage. It kept him awake nights and even affected his health.
While it may seem that there is no hope for victims such as Gumpel, there actually is a reason to be very optimistic. The Childs Victims Act is a bill that would be a game changer for victims of sexual assault who were abused as children. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democrats who lead the Senate and Assembly have all vowed to support the Child Victims Act. If passed it would extend the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against children. The time limit for victims to sue in civil court would be extended to the time they turn 55. Keep in mind, the bill is not finalized and this information could change.
Cuomo, in his executive budget, has also proposed ending the statute of limitations for all victims of rape. While New York removed the statute of limitations for rape in the first degree, restrictive statutes of limitations remains for second and third degree rape. It’s part of Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal but may pass even earlier. It would also open up a one-time-only, one-year window for past abuse victims to file civil claims regardless of when the abuse happened.
If you are a victim of sexual assault that occurred as a child and want to sue as an adult, we can help you. If this bill passes, you’ll want to be prepared. We can answer any questions you may have. Several victims of this kind of abuse have already retained us and we are experienced in sexual assault claims. Call us for a confidential, free consultation at 516-222-4000.