By Katherine Long | Editor

Yesterday, under the Child Victims Act, a one-year “look-back” window opened, allowing adults who were sexually abused as children to bring claims previously beyond the statute of limitations.

The Diocese of Syracuse has been named in 19 such suits since the window opened, Chancellor and Director of Communications Danielle Cummings said in a midday email Aug. 15. 

In one such suit, a priest is accused whose name does not appear on the diocese’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The diocese released the list of 57 names in December 2018.

That priest is Vincentian Father Wilhelm Golli, who died in 1994. The suit alleges Golli abused a teenager in the late 1970s while serving at the now-closed St. Stephen’s Church in Syracuse.

“The diocese has no prior or current knowledge of any accusation against this priest,” the diocese said in a statement.

The diocese and its counsel “will carefully review all claims and continue to work with individuals who may have been harmed by a member of its diocesan clergy in an effort to bring them hope and healing. It will also continue in its vigilant safe environment initiatives to ensure that all children remain safe,” the statement said.

Newly installed Bishop of Syracuse Douglas J. Lucia also offered a message to the people of the diocese ahead of the window opening.

“This legislation affects not only the Church, but other societal institutions and organizations as well. Collectively, we will experience afresh the pain of sacred trust violated and of the victims and their families whose spirits and lives have been so demoralized and harmed,” Bishop Lucia wrote.

“To all victims, I once again in the name of the Diocese of Syracuse apologize most deeply and sincerely for the heinous acts perpetrated against them by their abusers who were supposed to be the caregivers of souls. I renew my own offer to meet with victims, if there is any way I can assist them in their search for healing and peace,” he said.

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