Deceased Priest, Boy Scout Mentor Named in Child Victims Act Lawsuit

Deceased Priest, Boy Scout Mentor Named in Child Victims Act Lawsuit


By Spectrum News Staff Rochester

A new lawsuit filed under the state’s Child Victims Act claims a member of the Diocese of Rochester who also served as a mentor for the Boy Scouts sexually abused a boy in the 1990s.

According to court paperwork, Father Robert O’Neill of the Church of the Annunciation of Rochester sexually abused the plaintiff in 1994 when he was 16.

The lawsuit says O’Neill mentored the plaintiff as an Eagle Scout and rubbed the victim’s back and upper thighs while on a tour of the church.

It further alleges O’Neill had sexual contact with the plaintiff on a trip to O’Neill’s cabin near Chaumont in Jefferson County.

O’Neill died in 2005.

The Boy Scouts’ Seneca Waterways Council released a statement saying, “We were not aware of any lawsuits against the Seneca Waterways Council, and have not been served any papers.  We are appalled that anyone, especially someone in a position of reverence that garners trust in young people, would take advantage of the Scouting program to harm a child.”

In response to a request for comment, the Diocese of Rochester said it is “reserving comments on lawsuits out of respect for the legal process and the claimants.” 

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