Sexually Abused in a Small Town? We Understand Your Hesitation

by | Oct 30, 2023 | Catholic Church

Sexual Abuse in a Small Town Horowitz Law

Suppose you are a victim of sexual abuse in a big city like Los Angeles or New York City, and you walk into the police station to report it. The odds are pretty slim that someone you know will work there or that someone you know will be driving by at that precise moment and recognize you. 

But it’s an entirely different situation in a small town or a rural community. The odds that someone you know will see or hear that you are sitting down with someone in law enforcement are higher. More importantly, your FEAR of losing your privacy is much greater. It’s common sense that in more closely-knit communities -where many people know or recognize one another – it may be tougher for you to protect your privacy. 

So, while it’s hard for anyone who has experienced sexual violence to speak about it, especially to strangers, it’s in some ways even harder for people who live in small towns or rural areas to do so. This lack of anonymity – real or imagined – is one of the reasons why many victims don’t speak up and report abuse. Many survivors feel shame or fear and don’t come forward.

Then there’s the matter of news coverage. In larger cities, obviously, there are more news outlets. It’s a more competitive environment. Editors and reporters at one news source feel that if they don’t cover ‘hot’ issues – even if they are controversial – they’ll lose viewers, listeners, or readers, and then they’ll lose advertisers. There’s much more attention paid to cases of abuse and cover-up. This often leads to more victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers speaking up and taking action. (It’s less scary to reveal secrets when you see others revealing their secrets and when you see people with clout – like journalists – take such revelations seriously.)

Thus, when several reporters in many TV stations, radio stations, print publications, and online sources struggle to build their audiences, the result is more stories, more revelations, and more people with information or suspicions about abuse stepping forward. This is not so much the case in places like Ogdensburg, NY.

Help us help abuse survivors in rural areas and spread the word that if you were sexually violated by Catholic employees in or around Ogdensburg, NY, the clock is ticking. An important deadline is looming – Jan. 18, 2024 – after which it becomes much more difficult to seek justice, healing, and closure in court for these victims.

For survivors of abuse from Ogdensburg by Catholic priests, deacons, bishops, seminarians, nuns, and others, there’s yet another obstacle: The official and publicly available list of ‘credibly accused’ church staffers is pathetic. It’s designed to be as unhelpful as possible. Bishop Terry LaValley provides only the names of his offenders—no work histories. No photos. No ordination dates. No suspension dates. No death dates. No ‘last known whereabouts.’ No ‘current status. No narratives. Not even the middle initials of the alleged wrongdoers. 

We at Horowitz Law, based on our work with abuse victims all across the US, in dioceses large and small, are convinced that Ogdensburg Catholic officials are still ignoring and hiding other proven, admitted, and credibly accused child molesting clerics. A REAL list of predatory church employees in the diocese would be far longer than the 27 names Bishop LaValley discloses. Indeed, the far more reliable and accurate source for names of abusive clerics can be found on, which lists 52 Ogdensburg predator priests. Many of their histories are available on Horowitz Law’s website as well.

We’re MOST worried about those hurt by clerics who, until recently, have been ‘under the radar.’ Some of those individuals are Fr. Floyd J. Brown, Fr. Francis Gordon Coseo, Fr. James A. Delbel, Fr. John (Jack) L. Downs, Fr. Joseph W. Elliott, Fr. George A. Fontaine, Fr. Joseph F. Luker, Fr. Donald J. Manfred, Fr. John F. McNamara, Fr. Aquinas Reding, Fr. Charles J. Richard, Fr. Joseph Arthur Francoeur, Br. Roland A. Gaudette, Fr. Frank M. Kearns, Fr. Andrew Robert MulvaneyFr. Paul Oehler, Fr. John F. Pendergast, Msgr. Thomas J. Robillard, Fr. Donald E. Seguin, Fr. Roland H. St. Pierre, and Fr. John M. Waterhouse. They are the ones whose victims are most apt to remain trapped in silence, self-doubt, and shame.

We at Horowitz Law are slightly less worried about the child molesting clerics who are deceased and can no longer hurt kids. These include: Fr. Joseph ContiFr. Joseph DegenFr. Robert O. DufordFr. John FallonFr. Edward FranklinFr. Theodore GilletteFr. John HuntFr. Edwin KennedyFr. John M. KennedyFr. Emile LaLondeFr. Roger MartinFr. Gerald McGrathFr. Roland MenardFr. Liam O’DohertyFr. Albert R. PlanteFr. Gerald SharlandFr. George Tobin, and Fr. John F. Wiley

They can no longer hurt kids. We’re also slightly less concerned about the predators publicly accused in or before 2018. Fr. Fay AgerFr. Robert O. DufordFr. Ronald FarchetteFr. Bruce FavreauFr. James LarcheFr. Roland MenardFr. Roger M. MartinFr. Thomas SquiresFr. Robert ShurtleffFr. Michael TothFr. Carl StoneFr. Clark WhiteFr. David Wisniewski, and Fr. Paul Worczak.

At least there have been several years during which their victims have known they weren’t the only ones hurt by these predators, so those victims are more apt to have come forward by now. The bottom line is that, indeed, others who were assaulted as kids in the Ogdensburg area need and deserve help. They may not get it if they don’t come forward soon. Spread the word.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.