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Attorney: Abuse victim wants priest's name off Glen Cove Catholic church

The attorney for a former parishioner of a Rocky Point Roman Catholic Church — who claims a priest abused him in the pews there a half century ago — is demanding the clergyman’s name be removed from a Glen Cove church.

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney representing people who claim they were abused by priests, said he recently reached an out-of-court settlement with the Diocese of Rockville Centre against Father Eligio Della Rosa, who allegedly forced his client to perform oral sex on him in the pews of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rocky Point in 1964.

The alleged victim was 14 at the time, Garabedian said, adding that he reached a settlement in the “low six figures”  in September through the church’s voluntary Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. The mechanism, which was established by the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2017, operates outside of the court system.

Now, Garabedian and his client hope to have the name of Della Rosa, who they said is deceased, removed from St. Rocco’s Parish in Glen Cove, where they said Della Rosa served as pastor — and for all credibly accused priests in the Long Island diocese to be publicly identified.

“Father Della Rosa’s name should be removed from that center immediately,” said Garabedian, who was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in "Spotlight," the 2015 Academy Award-winning film about Boston's Catholic Church sex scandal. “Keeping his name there sends a loud and strong message that they don’t care about the victims and the Catholic Church continues to support pedophilia within its ranks.”

Diocesan officials said they are looking into removing names from buildings but that they have already released to law enforcement authorities the identities of priests accused of sexual abuse.

“The possible removal of the names of accused clergy that may appear on church buildings is a matter that is under active review,” said Sean P. Dolan, director of communications for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in an email. “The diocese has released the names of all clergy, employees and volunteers that we are aware of having ever been accused of the sexual abuse of a minor (whether credible or not) to the proper law enforcement authorities.”

Critics of the church have asked officials to release the names of accused clergy, but the Rockville Centre diocese has so far declined.

“Bishop John Barres must release the names of all credibly accused pedophile priests,“ Garabedian said. “Not doing so continues to harm victims, prevents healing and keeps children at risk.”

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