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LI woman files suit alleging sexual abuse by local priest

Attorneys J. Michael Reck and Jeff Anderson, from

Attorneys J. Michael Reck and Jeff Anderson, from the St. Paul, Minnesota, law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates PA, discuss a planned lawsuit against Roman Catholic religious officials, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Greenlawn, on behalf of a 20-year-old woman who says she was sexually abused by a priest. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Long Island woman Wednesday said that a Roman Catholic priest sexually abused her when she was 8 years old, though the Diocese of Rockville Centre called it "an unfortunate publicity stunt."

Attorneys for the 20-year-old woman, whom Newsday is not naming due to the nature of the claims, filed a lawsuit Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Nassau County alleging that she was abused by the Rev. Gregory Yacyshyn when the priest was at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Greenlawn in 2003.

The lawsuit, which also named the diocese and the local parish, was filed by Jeffrey R. Anderson, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based lawyer who has filed numerous successful lawsuits against the Catholic Church on behalf of alleged sex abuse victims.

Yacyshyn's attorney said both the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which the woman first approached in 2013, and Suffolk police have found the allegations without substance.

"To suggest otherwise today is defamatory and wholly without merit," said the attorney, Elizabeth S. Kase of Lake Success. "These baseless accusations will be addressed in a court of law where Father Yacyshyn will have legal remedies to counter and quash these scurrilous accusations."

In a statement, the Diocese of Rockville Centre said it would present its case in court "rather than in the atmosphere of an unfortunate publicity stunt." It added: "The facts will show that the Diocese was in immediate and close contact with the Office of Suffolk County District Attorney when allegations against Fr. Yacyshyn were first made. And importantly, that the allegations were never substantiated."

A law enforcement source not authorized to speak officially said the case is ongoing, though no charges have been filed.

Yacyshyn is now pastor of St. Jude parish in Mastic Beach.

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