ClickCease

Anti-Pornography Crusading Priest named in Sex Abuse Lawsuits

An anti-pornography crusading priest was named in two sex abuse lawsuits filed July 29 in state Supreme Court in Chautauqua County in New York state.

The former pastor, who now stands accused of violating children, preached the word of the Lord at a Jamestown church while advocating for years against the indecency of pornography. The man who repeatedly called on law enforcement to uphold obscenity guidelines in literature (sometimes in magazines on local newsstands) was named in two Child Victims Act lawsuits filed Wednesday. He was also named in a sex abuse lawsuit filed a year ago.

Sadly, if the charges are true, the man has escaped earthly justice, as he died in 2007. The lawsuits just filed both claim that Rev. Ralph P. Federico abused male victims while serving at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown. A similar accusation has also been made against the deceased Federico while he served as pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii in Depew.

The lawsuit petitions list the plaintiffs as “AB 192 Doe” and “AB 193 Doe.”  They name the defendant as St. John’s Roman Catholic Church — now known as SS Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown.

“AB 192 Doe” alleges in the lawsuit petition that he was sexually abused by the Rev. Federico around 1976 when he was around 10 years of age.

The suit states: “Plaintiff was a student and participated in youth activities and/or church activities at St. John’s ParishPlaintiff, therefore, developed great admiration, trust, reverence, and respect for the Roman Catholic Church, including Defendants and their agents, including Fr. Federico.”

Defendants knew or should have known. . .

The suit continues: “Defendants knew or should have known that there was a risk of child sexual abuse for children participating in Catholic programs and activities within the Diocese. At the very least, Defendants knew or should have known that they did not have sufficient information about whether or not there was a risk of child sexual abuse for children participating in Catholic programs and activities within the Diocese.”

In the second lawsuit filed yesterday, “AB 193 Doe” alleges that Pastor Federico engaged in “unpermitted sexual contact” on or about 1974 when the male victim was atound 10 years of age.

Anti-Porn Crusading Priest named in another Lawsuit

The anti-porn crusading Rev. Federico was also named in another lawsuit, this one filed in August 2019, when the Child Victims Act first went into effect allowing past victims of sexual abuse to file claims. An attorney for for one plaintiff said Pastor Federico was known to have a trailer in Mayville where some of the alleged abuse took place. The attorney also said he believes several others are still alive who likely suffered abuse by pastor Federico.

The Rev. Federico’s name is not included in the list of priests named by the Buffalo Diocese who have been accused of sexually abusing children.

The Rev. Federico’s Anti-Porn Crusades

The Rev. Federico frequently wrote to local newspapers while he served in Western New York parishes. He wrote at least five Op-Eds for The Post-Journal from 1975 to 1985, each of which discussed a range of topics, some against abortion, others against the dissemination of pornography. In the mid-1970s, Federico was the chairman of the Tri-county Chapter of Citizens for Decency Through Law Inc.

In a 1976 piece in The Post-Journal, Federico expressed frustration in not being able to make contact with then-Chautauqua County District Attorney Paul King to “discuss a problem of pornography in the area.”

Buys “Obscene” Material, then files complaint against it

Federico had objected to an obscenity case’s being dismissed by a Jamestown City Court judge. The Rev. had sworn out a complaint the previous spring that charged the owner of a city newsstand with seven counts of second-degree obscenity. Federico had purchased newspapers and books at a newsstand, which he then claimed were indecent material. (Yes, perhaps he was only gathering evidence.)

A defense attorney for the newsstand filed a motion to dismiss the charges, a motion that was approved based on a New York State Court of Appeals ruling. Federico called that dismissal “legal baloney.”

In October 1975, Federico, told a gathering of law enforcement officials that obscenity guidelines should be enforced. In those days, the  pastor often acted to “limit the display and sale of obscene materials in stores” – as a newspaper article stated when describing the gathering.

Pornography may well be worth fighting against – as difficult as that fight may be with first amendment issues allowing free speech, and with the age-old problem of defining exactly what constitutes pornography –  but it is difficult to do so if the person who wishes to represent what is presumably right is, in reality (if the charges against Federico hold water), so very wrong.

RELATED

Share