Alleged victim of clergy abuse shares story as diocese unveils fund

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ROCKVILLE CENTRE -

As the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveils a compensation fund for victims of clergy sex abuse, a Long Island man who says he was sexually abused by a priest decades ago is sharing his story.

Thomas McGarvey says he grew up in a typical Irish Catholic family. He also says he was abused by a priest at St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square, starting when he was 16.

Ever since then, McGarvey says he has struggled in both his personal and professional life.

"It almost ended my marriage," he says. "I had to take an early retirement from American Airlines."

McGarvey's attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, has represented clergy sexual abuse victims in Boston and in New York for years.

"Six different priests have been named to me by victims within the Diocese of Rockville Centre spanning a period of 21 years of abuse," Garabedian says.

On Monday, the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveiled its new Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. Officials say it is for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy within the diocese.

Under the program, an individual who receives compensation agrees to waive their rights to litigate against the diocese in the future. The first phase of the program begins immediately for anyone who has previously notified the diocese of abuse, and the second phase is expected to begin in 2018.

Bishop John Barres, leader of Long Island's 1.5 million Catholics, said on the Telecare Network that the program is a critical next step for the church.

McGarvey says he plans to participate, but in the end he just wants some closure and to put the whole thing behind him. "I want to get on with my life," he says.

Asked to comment on McGarvey's allegations, a spokesperson for the diocese said they do not comment on individual claims. 

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