The Court’s ruling pertains to 21 lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese and three other defendants for the sexual abuse of kids by Edwin “Ted” Gaynor, a former teacher and coach at several local grammar schools.
This week, a Westchester County judge ordered the Archdiocese of New York and three of its Catholic grammar schools to turn over documents requested by attorneys for the alleged victims of Edwin “Ted” Gaynor.
At least 21 people have accused Gaynor of sexually abusing them as children in lawsuits filed since the Child Victims Act statute of limitations window opened in 2019. The plaintiffs say they were abused between the 1950s and the 1980s. Gaynor worked as a teacher and coach at multiple Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of New York, including Immaculate Heart of Mary (Scarsdale), St. Bernard (White Plains), and Holy Rosary (Hawthorne).
The latest court ruling comes in response to the plaintiffs’ routine requests for documents pertaining to Gaynor’s history in the Archdiocese of New York, and, more specifically, what it and the other defendants may have known about the likelihood that he might sexually abuse the kids he encountered through work. The Archdiocese and the other defendants fought to keep the documents secret, arguing there is no relevant evidence in their files.
This part of a court case is often referred to as the “discovery” phase of a lawsuit, during which the attorneys for both sides obtain information and evidence relating to the case. In this case, the documents are important to establishing the defendants’ negligence in the employment and supervision of Gaynor and the children entrusted to his care. Lawyers for the Archdiocese of New York claim that Gaynor was solely responsible for the four decades of abuse, and that Archdiocese officials were unaware of any abuse until the lawsuits were filed. These documents are important to plaintiffs’ attorneys because they help show what the Archdiocese knew, or should have known, about the dangers (or, conversely, what officials did not know).
This ruling represents a victory for Gaynors’ accusers, who not only require the documents to proceed with their lawsuits, but who may also be able to shed light on any of the Archdiocese’s efforts to conceal abuse allegations and endanger the general public through secrecy. This was a battle well-fought and a well-deserved victory for survivors.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of New York. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest or other Catholic clergy in New York State, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of New York now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help.