Seven former McQuaid priests included on list of clergy members accused of sex abuse

Local News

A list of clergy members accused of credible sex abuse claims, released by the Jesuits USA Northeast Province, includes seven former priests at McQuaid Jesuit High School.

The seven priests’ tenures at McQuaid range from the 1950s to late 70s. Six of the seven appear to have been moved from school to school during their careers — a practice victims’ advocates say was common for accused priests in the church.

The list includes:

  • Cornelius Carr: At McQuaid from 1960 to 1964 (and also worked at Canisius High School and St. Michael in the Buffalo area). Report incidents of abuse happened in the 70s and 1980-90. Father Carr died in 2013.
  • Thomas Denny: At McQuaid from 1978 to 1979 (also served at Canisius High School).
  • Roy Drake: At McQuaid from 1957 to 1960 (also served at LeMoyne College and the Retreat House in Syracuse). Officials say abuse happened in the 1968 and 1973.
  • John L. Farrand: At McQuaid from 1955 to 1957 (worked at Canisius High School prior to that). Reported abuse happened in 1961.
  • Leonard Riforgiato: At McQuaid from 1964 to 1966. Report abuse happened during this time frame.
  • William Scanlon: At McQuaid from 1964 to 1967 (also worked at Canisius College in Buffalo). Reported abuse happened between 1985 and 1994.
  • Robert Voelkle: At McQuaid for three different spans between 1962 and 1969. Reported abuse happened between 1960 and 1980.

All seven had credible allegations against them, according to the USA Northeast Province, and three (Farrand, Riforgiato, and Scanlon) made admissions to the allegations.

Regarding the release of the list, Father John J. Cecero, of the USA Northeast Province, writes that “changed practices do not erase past history”

He adds, “At the heart of this crisis is the painful, sinful and illegal harm done to children by those whom they should have been able to trust. We did not know any best practices to handle these violations many decades ago and regrettably made mistakes along the way.”

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, McQuaid President Father Robert Reiser says, “We pray that some healing will come from sharing these names.”

Reiser adds, “McQuaid has a zero-tolerance policy regarding incidents of inappropriate conduct with minors or vulnerable adults. If any abuse claim should ever be made by a student or non-student, we immediately report the incident to law enforcement and the Jesuits’ Northeast Province. Additionally, all McQuaid employees are mandated reporters, and are legally required to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the relevant authorities.”

You can click here to see Reiser’s full statement and information on the accused priests.

The release of the list comes after Diocese of Rochester removed two other priests from the public clergy over abuse allegations.

Full list from Jesuits

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