Over 30 victims are claiming that they were abused by a Queens, New York priest known by students as “Father Pervert,” “The Pig” and “Lurch,” according to the New York Daily News. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian is representing 34 women and one man who claim they were sexually abused by Father Adam Prochaski between 1970 and 1994. The victims were between the ages of 5 and 16 when the alleged abuse took place, The New York Times reports.
“The sexual abuse of clients took place in the school, church, rectory next to school, in some clients’ homes and in Prochaski’s car,” Garabedian — who was portrayed in the movie "Spotlight," an Oscar-winning film about clergy abuse — said.
Earlier this year, 15 women accused the former priest of sexual abuse. In just a few months, the number has gone up to 35.
Prochaski was assigned to Holy Cross Parish in Maspeth, Queens, where he also taught. Linda Porcaro, a former teacher at Holy Cross, told the New York Daily News of Prochaski’s schoolyard nicknames.
“Many of the boys knew he was abusing the girls. And he was nasty to the boys if they found out,” she said. “The Pig” nickname “didn’t mean he was a slob. It meant he was disgusting,” she said.
Porcaro said she told her superiors that she suspected Prochaski of abuse between 1986 and 1991, but that nothing was done about it. She told The New York Times that in 1990, seven fifth-graders told her that Prochaski was sexually abusing them.
She recalled one of the times she reported the alleged abuse. She told the principal, a nun from the Sisters of the Holy Family order, and according to Porcaro, she laughed and replied, “Oh, everybody knows about Father Adam."
"And I had tears in my eyes," Porcaro said.
The 35 victims are expected to submit claims through the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.
“Every time an additional person comes forward to say he or she was abused it is deeply troubling,” Diocese spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad said on Monday. “We are encouraged to see that (the program) our Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program is working to bring more survivors forth and that they are able to share their stories publicly while applying for financial compensation. We understand that nothing will take away the trauma of abuse but do hope the IRCP will help in the healing process.”
Prochaski is no longer a priest, but it is unclear when he left. The Brooklyn Diocese says he left in 1994. However, the Official Catholic Directory lists him as on sick leave from 1995 to 2000. He went on leave again, according to that directory, in 2001 and 2002.
Garbabedian explained that designation is often a red flag. He said it can often mean a priest is “receiving treatment for pedophilia.”
"This case is indicative of how widespread the clergy sex abuse crisis is and how irresponsible supervisors of predator priests are," Garabedian said.
[Photo: Getty Images]