Parish at St. Michael’s Church named in sexual abuse lawsuit


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A lawsuit has named St. Michael’s Church and the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish responsible for the sexual assault and abuse of a Florida man decades ago.

The man is suing the church for allegedly knowing and allowing the abuse to continue by one of the priests, Father Benedict Ehman.

The lawsuit named Ehman a serial pedophile and said he is responsible for abusing the man, but also introducing him to another priest affiliated with St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish who also abused him.

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According to the lawsuit, when the man was 8 years old in 1969, he was introduced to Ehman while studying for communion and shortly after becoming an altar boy.

“Father Ehman took Plaintiff’s hand and brought him through a door to the left of the altar. Thereafter Father Ehman sexually assaulted and abused Plaintiff,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit then said that Ehman introduced the boy to a second priest and he was assaulted and abused by second priest several times. The lawsuit also said that he was sexually assaulted by both of the priests at the same time.

The lawsuit alleges that the assaults occurred on the premises St. Michael’s and St. Frances.

“The Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester at all relevant times knew that priests of the Diocese and St. Frances, under his supervision and control, were grooming and sexually molesting children with whom the priests would have contact in their ministry and pastoral functions,” the lawsuit said.

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The lawsuit then cites the document “The Manner of Proceeding in Cases of Solicitation” released by the Holy See in 1962.

“According to the document itself, it is an ‘instruction, ordering upon those to whom it pertains to keep and observe it in the minutest detail.”

New York State has already seen more than 1,000 sex abuse cases since August. Locally, so many lawsuits were filed against the Catholic Diocese of Rochester, that the organization filed for bankruptcy in September.

Full lawsuit

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