ROCKVILLE CENTRE - A group of clergy sex abuse victims say the leader of Long Island's Catholics is putting kids at risk by refusing to suspend a twice-accused priest.
Gail Howard, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says Father Gregory Yacyshyn should not be allowed near children. In a pair of pending civil cases, the Roman Catholic priest is accused of sexually assaulting two children more than a decade ago while assigned to St. Francis of Assisi of Greenlawn.
As News 12 Long Island has reported, Father Yacyshyn is still an active priest and is the pastor at St. Jude Parish in Mastic Beach.
SNAP national director David Clohessy believes the Diocese of Rockville Centre should suspend Father Yacyshyn immediately.
“We would encourage Bishop Murphy to put him in an enclosed treatment facility far, far away,” says Clohessy.
Despite today's call to action from SNAP, a spokesperson from the diocese says they've yet to receive a "credible accusation in either of these matters."
The diocese released a statement reading in part, "Whenever there is a credible accusation the Diocese removes the priest pending an investigation... The Diocese has fully cooperated with law enforcement authorities with respect to both sets of allegations and we will continue to do so."
Meanwhile, Father Yacyshyn's attorney blasted SNAP.
"It is outrageous and irresponsible for an organization (SNAP) to continue to target an innocent man to the point of harassment,” said Elizabeth Kase. “These new baseless, incredible and defamatory accusations will be addressed in a court of law."
Clohessy responded by saying, “The overwhelming majority of child abusers profess their innocence, as do the defense attorneys who make money defending them.”
SNAP is also calling on Bishop William Murphy to post the names and whereabouts of any and all priests who have either admitted or have been credibly accused of molesting children on the diocese's website.