BUFFALO – Several local catholic churches in Chautauqua County have been named in a series of lawsuits that were filed in state court in Buffalo on Wednesday involving the alleged past abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests.
The cases are part of a series that were filed under a new state law known as the Child Victims Act. It allows for a one-year litigation window for victims to file civil lawsuits that had previously been barred by the state’s statute of limitations.
According to the Jamestown Post-Journal, the lawsuits filed on Wednesday claim that the churches and Buffalo diocese failed to report known or suspected abuse of children by various priests and church officials.
Among the cases is one involving the Holy Apostles and St. James parishes, both in Jamestown. The Holy Apostles parish was previously known as St. John’s Church, and the alleged abuse against the victim is said to have taken place between 1948 and 49. The case specifically names the Rev. Francis Hogan, who has since passed away.
Another case was filed against St. James parish and involved abuse that allegedly occurred in 1967 to 1970 at the Our Lady of Victory church. At the time the church was located in Frewsburg, but is now part of St. James. That case specifically names the Rev. James P. Hayes, who has also since passed away.
Other suits involve alleged incidents that took place at St. Joseph’s Church in Fredonia and the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, formerly St. Rose of Lima, in Forestville.