A priest from St. Joseph’s Parish in Bronxville surrendered to authorities on Tuesday to face charges of felony sexual abuse. Thomas Kreiser is accused of sexually touching a 10-year-old child while in a parish school building on September 20.
When the alleged incident occurred, Kreiser was a Roman Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of New York and was stationed at St. Joseph’s Parish. Part of his duties as a priest included visiting the school at the time of the incident.
Since the allegations have come to light, the Archdiocese has removed Kreiser from the parish.
The Archdiocese has urged other victims of sexual abuse to report it to law enforcement authorities.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent has extensive experience representing victims of sexual assault – first as a criminal prosecutor and now as a civil attorney. We’ve asked Brian to share some of his thoughts on the legal options available to those who have been sexually assaulted by Catholic Church clergy members:
The Catholic Church has recently come under fire yet again for widespread child sexual abuse committed by priests and other church clergy members. Many survivors of sexual abuse within the church have filed lawsuits alleging that the organization has covered up incidents of abuse and protected sexual predators within the organization. Since the 1950s, the church has paid out more than $3 billion to these victims in settlements and verdicts.
Sexual abuse must be taken seriously from the beginning. Law enforcement must be contacted, the abuser must be abused from their position, and the victims must be provided with all of the support they need. In cases where the church failed to prevent abuse, attempted to cover up, or was negligent in any other way related to the abuse, the victims likely have a strong case for a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by someone in the Catholic Church, we understand the pain you face. For some victims, taking legal action can provide a sense of justice and relief, along with providing support. Consider speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney to learn more about your family’s legal options.