Fr. James J. Bergin – Diocese of Rockville Centre

| Dec 30, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father James J. Bergin 

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Ordained: 1961

Died: 1992

Assigned as follows:

  • 1962                St. Lawrence the Martyr (Sayville, NY)
  • 1963                Our Lady of Lourdes (Massapequa, NY)
  • 1964-1968      St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary (Uniondale, NY)
  • 1969-1970      St. Anthony of Padua (Rocky Point, NY)
  • 1971                St. John the Evangelist (Center Moriches, NY)
  • 1972-1979      St. Francis de Sales (Patchogue, NY)
  • 1980-1987      St. John the Evangelist (Riverhead, NY)
  • 1988-1992      Most Holy Trinity (East Hampton, NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father James Bergin:

Fr. James Bergin worked in several parishes within the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  According to media reports, Fr. Bergin allegedly abused a young boy whose family befriended the priest and worshipped at St. Francis de Sales in Patchogue, New York in the 1970s. When the boy’s father learned that Father Bergin made a sexual advance towards one of his friend’s sons, he confronted his son who admitted that he was also abused by the priest. 

“I went to talk to Ray and he broke down. He told me that it had gone on for two years, masturbation mostly. But it may have been more.”

The father then called Father Bergin, who was then the pastor at St. John’s in Riverhead, and told him to come to the house. “He broke down and cried when I told him,” he said. “He flat out admitted it. Bergin went in Ray’s room and apologized to him. As he was coming out of his room – and you know I will always remember this – he said, ‘I hope something good can come out of this now that it’s finally out in the open.’”

At the time of the alleged abuse, Father Bergin was working at St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary in Uniondale, New York, and St. Francis de Sales in Patchogue, New York. James Bergin has also been accused of abuse by at least two boys from St. John the Evangelist in Riverhead.  Another allegation of child sexual abuse was reported to Diocesan officials in the early 1980s, Father Bergin eventually turned himself in for treatment. He died in January 1992. Bergin was assigned to East Hampton well after the diocese was made aware of the claims against him, which date at least to the early 1980s, with victims reporting abuse not only at St. John the Evangelist and St. Pius, but also at Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton, on skiing and camping trips, and in three other parishes, among other locations.

In early 1994, the Diocese of Rockville Centre settled one of the sexual abuse claims for $25,000. The man, an admitted drug addict, was found dead of a cocaine overdose a few weeks later. His parents were enraged that the Diocese of Rockville Centre agreed to a cash settlement with someone who was an active addict. 

The 2003 Suffolk County Grand Jury Report’s description of Priest E matches a public allegation of child sexual abuse against Father Bergin. “While there were a number of victims, the [Grand Jury] report tells the story of one, who was 11 when the abuse started and later died of a drug overdose after receiving a $25,000 settlement from the diocese.” 

Father Bergin was named in a 2003 civil suit. His current whereabouts are unknown. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New York, contact our office today. In October 2020, the Rockville Centre Diocese filed for federal bankruptcy protection.  The Court will resolve all claims of sexual abuse in this process but strict filing deadlines will apply and no late claims will be considered, so contact us today.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.