"Church of St. Catherine of Genoa" by Beyond My Ken / CC BY-SA 4.0

Woman Accuses NY Priest of Rape, Kicking Off Dozens of New Clergy Sex-Abuse Lawsuits

Aug 15, 2019

By Olivia Messer

A New York woman who has waited decades to publicly accuse a Catholic priest of rape kicked off more than 100 lawsuits filed Wednesday after a new state law opened a one-year window for sexual-abuse survivors to seek justice.

The 36-year-old, identified by the pseudonym Jane Doe, filed suit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, claiming abuse by Father Ricardo Fajardo when she was a minor and he was working as a priest at the Church of St. Catherine of Genoa in Manhattan.

Doe’s suit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, alleges that she was raped by Fajardo, who “used his position as a dignified religious leader to ingratiate himself with [Doe’s] family as a trusted and respected individual.”

After volunteering to give her a ride home one day, Fajardo instead allegedly drove Doe back to the church rectory and invited her to lay in his bed. Then he gave her alcohol, groped and kissed her, and then raped her, according to the lawsuit.

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