Priest molestation report reopens old wounds for LI man

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MASSAPEQUA PARK -

The grand jury report that accuses more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania of being sexual predators reopened wounds for a Long Island man who says he was abused as a child.

Harold Siering, of Massapequa Park, said he was sexually abused by a Franciscan brother when he attended Catholic school.

“It's all shame,” said Siering. “I'll have flashbacks for the rest of the week.”

MORE: LI's new bishop named in bombshell molestation report  

He said he’s not surprised about the findings of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that found evidence of priests in the state who molested more than 1,000 children dating back to the 1940s.

“This shows the Catholic Church is still covering up the child abuse issues,” said Siering.

Bishop John Barres was a priest and bishop in Pennsylvania before becoming the head of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. He is not accused of any abuse, but the grand jury report said he covered up sex abuse allegations made against another priest.

READ THE REPORT | Diocese statement on grand jury report 

Siering said the bishop should resign.

“He shouldn't even be here, but you know the Catholic Church normally gives promotions when their bishops and cardinals…do something bad,” he said.

Siering has played an active role in trying to change New York state law that puts statute of limitations on sex abuse claims. The Child Victims' Act later failed to make it through the state Legislature.

“That is the one way to give justice to the victims, because it allows them, on their own time, to bring a case if they want to. And that's when you'll find out who the hidden predators are,” said Siering.

Supporters of the bill say Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has been the one blocking it from coming up for a vote. Flanagan's office did not respond to News 12’s request for a comment. 

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