Diocese of Rochester

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Coat of Arms of Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

The Diocese of Rochester, established in 1868, extends from its northern border on the south shore of Lake Ontario through the Finger Lakes region to its southern border at the New York-Pennsylvania border.

Since the abuse scandal broke at the beginning of the century, the Diocese of Rochester has been less than forthcoming in publishing a list of priests who’ve been credibly accused of sexual abuse.  An unofficial tally numbers 35 but that number may be much higher. 

In March 2019, the Diocese of Rochester abruptly terminated its compensation program for survivors of sexual abuse.  It did so without any explanation and will undoubtedly lead to civil lawsuits now that the state has opened a one year window in which survivors of priest abuse may bring claims in court.

Rochester’s compensation program had only 65 claimants which is the lowest in the state of New York.  In comparison, the Diocese of Brooklyn had already settled nearly 700 claims. 

The names of priests credibly accused in the Diocese of Rochester are listed below:

  • Bonin, David
  • Burr, Thomas
  • Cason, Albert (deceased)
  • Casper, Bernard (deceased)
  • Cloonan, Paul (deceased)
  • Corbett, Thomas
  • Costello, John M.
  • Emo, Eugene – Dismissed from the clerical state
  • Gaudio, Robert
  • Gormley, John
  • Gramkee, David
  • Guli, Gerard
  • Hammond, Robert
  • Heathwood, John Laurence
  • Hogan, G. Stewart
  • Larrabee, Joseph
  • Lum, William
  • Martensen, Carsten P.
  • McCarthy, Charles J.
  • Nadeau, Janice
  • O’Neill, Robert
  • Orlando, Richard J.
  • Panepinto, Vincent
  • Rogers, Foster
  • Schnacky, Paul
  • Sewar, Dennis – Dismissed from the clerical state
  • Shaw, Dennis – Dismissed from the clerical state
  • Shaw, Gary P.
  • Simon, David
  • Steger, John
  • Sundholm, Conrad
  • Valenti Thomas J.
  • Vogt, Francis (deceased)
  • Volino, Michael
  • Winterkorn, Robert (deceased)
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Coat of Arms of the U.S. bishop Salvatore Ronald Matano, Bishop of Rochester

In many instances, few details are known about those Rochester priests, other than they are named as accused.  Here are the few details that are known:

  • Rev. David Bonin – abused two boys during the 1980’s. 
  • Rev. Thomas Burr – ordained 1961; removed in 2002 after abuse allegations surfaced
  • Rev. Albert Cason – ordained 1962; removed in 1985 after numerous sex abuse allegations
  • Rev. Bernard Casper – ordained 1955; originally ordained for Pueblo CO; abused boys in Rochester, two of whom were in the custody of Casper as their guardian. Rochester diocese denied giving Casper permission to serve as a priest
  • Rev. Thomas Corbett – ordained 1965; charged with 3rd-degree sex abuse of a woman
  • Rev. John Costello, SJ – ordained 1984; accused of sex abuse of 15-year-old high school student
  • Rev. Eugene Emo – ordained 1961; arrested and convicted of sexually abusing a 31-year-old mentally disabled man; He’s had numerous prior sex abuse allegations.  In 1999, charged with violating his probation by having contact with a 16-year-old boy
  • Rev. John Gormley – ordained 1959; admitted to abuse of boy in 1966; ordained in spite of church knowledge of previous sex abuse
  • Rev. David Gramkee – ordained 1966; abused teen girl in 1970’s
  • Rev. Robert Hammond – ordained 1967; abused boy while director of Summer Youth Program
  • Rev. William Lum – ordained 1969; pled guilty in 1997 of sexual abuse of 16-year-old boy in 1992
  • Rev. Robert O’Neill – ordained 1962; abused and sued by 10 men.
  • Rev. Foster Rogers – ordained 1966; two men accused him of abuse when they were young boys in 1970’s.
  • Rev. Dennis Sewar – charged with abuse of 14-year-old boy
  • Rev. David Simon – ordained 1967; abused teenage boys from 1973 to 1982. Removed in 2002 after victims complained that Diocese knew about abuse and had failed to remove him earlier.
  • Rev. John Steger – ordained 1951; charged with sexually abusing 12-year-old girl.  Died before trial.
  • Rev. Francis Vogt – ordained 1938; Vogt molested pre-teen boys in 1950s-1970s at St. Bridget Church
  • Rev. Michael Volino – charged with possession of child porn on his computer.  Pled guilty and registered as a sex offender.
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Map of the Catholic Diocese of Rochester

Current Bishop Salvatore Matano adamantly refuses to release any more information concerning these priests including documents relating to the allegations.  When civil lawsuits are filed against the Diocese of Rochester, Matano will have no choice but to turn over these documents.