Father Adam Prochaski worked in the Holy Cross parish in Queens from 1969 to 1994. In that time, he allegedly abused over a dozen girls. Though he was supposedly a known abuser, it’s only now that the women coming forward against him are being acknowledged.
Gothamist reports that some of the alleged victims say the abuse started when they were as young as 5 years old, and continued into their teenage years. A teacher named Linda Porcaro, who worked for Holy Cross, claims that authorities were aware of Prochaski’s predatory behavior and did nothing to stop it:
“In 1991, about seven girls came to me, most of them Polish immigrants, to say Father Adam was sexually abusing them,” Porcaro tells Gothamist. “I went to then-principle Sister Benedict Jankowicz...She said, ‘Everybody knows about Father Adam, the whole parish knows about it.’ Then she laughed and didn’t do anything.”
Eventually, Porcaro was able to convince a new principal to contact the Diocese, who conducted interviews with the alleged victims, but took no action during Porcaro’s tenure. She says that one difficulty was that many of the girl’s parents felt obligated to the church, and Prochaski, who aided in their emigration to America from Poland.
The attorney for the women, Mitchell Garabedian, says that records show Prochaski was put on “sick leave” from 1995-2002, which Garabedian notes has often been used as an excuse when a priest is removed for pedophilia. A representative from the Diocese of Brooklyn says that the former priest cut off contact with the Catholic church in 1994, after those interviews were conducted. However, it’s unknown if he still receives a pension, nor do they know why he appeared in the official Catholic directory all those years.
The victims who have come forward are all between the ages of 37 and 50. Earlier this year, Andrew Cuomo failed to pass the Child Victims Act, which would have changed laws regarding the cut-off age at which victims of child abuse can bring criminal charges against their abusers. The current cut-off is 23. The Catholic Church was one of the biggest opponents of the CVA. The alleged victims are seeking settlements from the Diocese of Brooklyn, which has established a program to give financial recompense to children abused by their priests.
Read the whole report at Gothamist.