Father Dennis R. Sewar
Diocese of Rochester
Leave without privileges: 2005
Involuntarily dismissed: 2012
Assigned as follows:
- 1984-1988: St. Helen’s; Rochester, NY
- 1989-1991: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Fairport, NY
- 1992-1995: St. James; Rochester, NY
- 1996-1997: St. Lawrence Church; Rochester, NY
- 1998: St. Mary Church; Waterloo, NY
- 1999-2003: Church of the Annunciation; Rochester, NY
- 2004-2005: St. John the Evangelist; Spencerport, NY
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Dennis R. Sewar:
In 2005, Father Dennis R. Sewar was charged with abuse of 14-year-old boy from 1999-2001. Sewar was on sabbatical at the time of the allegations, and the Diocese of Rochester immediately placed him on administrative leave.
According to court documents, the alleged incidents of abuse took place between October 1999 and August 2001, during which time Sewar was the pastor of Rochester’s Church of the Annunciation.
The victim, who was an adult when the claims were filed, claimed Sewar touched his clothed genitals about 50 times while he and Sewar watched baseball on a big-screen television in Sewar’s private quarters in the church rectory. He also stated that the alleged abuse stopped when the boy turned 16.
Rochester police charged Sewar with a class B misdemeanor, sexual abuse in the third degree; and a class A misdemeanor, endangering the welfare of a child. However, a Rochester City Court Judge said the prosecution failed to show sufficient evidence that Sewar committed the misdemeanor of forcible touching of a boy in October 1999. The judge also said that the charge wasn’t valid because the law under which Sewar was charged didn’t take effect until Feb. 1, 2001, more than a year after the incident allegedly occurred.
Sewar was still charged with a lesser misdemeanor of third-degree sexual abuse, which alleges that he touched the boy’s genitals through clothing.
Sewar eventually pleaded guilty to attempted endangering the welfare of a child, also a misdemeanor, and sentenced to 1 year of probation.
Sewar is Found Working with Children in Hong Kong
Only a few years later, Sewar was discovered working in a primary school in Hong Kong for more than a year to design curriculum and tell stories at the school library. The school was alerted by a parent who wanted to search for Sewar’s doctoral thesis online but was shocked to discover numerous websites detailing his arrest in 2005 for sexual charges.
The school terminated Sewar and he was involuntarily dismissed from the church in 2011. He is believed to be living in Rochester, New York once again.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Rochester. The Diocese of Rochester in New York filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019. Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Rochester Diocese.
Very strict filing deadlines have now been set by the Bankruptcy Court. Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today. Call us at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to [email protected].