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Child Sexual Abuse Survivor Sues Roman Catholic Dioceses of Brooklyn Under New York Child Victims Act

A 63-year-old man, John GF Doe, has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Brooklyn, Franciscan Fathers, and Our Lady of Peace Church, alleging he was sexually abused over 125 times as a child by Brother Masseo Butteri, in a case brought under the New York Child Victims Act.

Manhattan, New York – Attorneys representing John GF Doe, a 63-year-old man, announced the filing of a child sexual abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Franciscan Fathers, and Our Lady of Peace Church.

The lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by Brother Masseo Butteri (“Brother Masseo”), a Franciscan priest at Our Lady of Peace, beginning when the plaintiff was approximately six or seven years old until he was approximately eleven years old.

According to the Complaint, Brother Masseo sexually assaulted, molested, and raped the victim more than 125 times. It is alleged that the assaults occurred at Our Lady of Peace Church, the church sacristy, the small chapel adjacent to the school in the parish, inside the school at the parish, and in the boys’ restroom in the school.

According to the lawsuit, a priest entered the chapel and saw Brother Masseo, pants down, attempting to sodomize Plaintiff. Instead of reporting the abuse to authorities, the priest retrieved a wooden paddle, grabbed Plaintiff by the ear, and spanked Plaintiff with it. He also smacked Plaintiff in the face with his hand.

The lawsuit alleges that Plaintiff was not the first parishioner or student at the Parish to be exposed to misconduct by Brother Masseo, as it was often discussed as an “open secret” among the other parishioners.

The lawsuit was filed under the New York Child Victims Act, which opened a one-year window in the statute of limitations, allowing victims of past child sexual abuse to bring claims.

The victim, John GF Doe, said, “Brother Masseo ruined my childhood and destroyed my life. I was brought up as a devout Catholic to respect and revere the clergy. Brother Masseo took advantage of that and used it to betray my trust and abuse my body when I was a child. His superiors knew what he had done and protected him instead of me.”

Attorney Sarah Klein, working with John GF Doe, said, “It is clear from the information provided to us by our client that his abuse was known by others in the hierarchy of the Franciscan Fathers and Our Lady of Peace Church. They did nothing to stop it, and they did nothing to hold his abuser accountable. In fact, they punished the victim and protected his rapist.”

Victim's attorney John Manly said, “Because of recent actions by state attorneys general, we now have much more information about clergy abusers in the Catholic church. Hundreds of clergy abuse victims are using this new law to obtain the justice they had previously been denied. I urge any other victims of Brother Masseo or any other Brother or priest in the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn to contact the police and hold their abuser and the Church accountable.”

Manly Stewart & Finaldi is California’s leading law firm representing child victims of sexual abuse. The firm has represented more than 150 victims of clergy sexual abuse in California and hundreds of others throughout the United States. The firm also represented plaintiffs in the $140,000,000 settlement against LAUSD in the Miramonte case, the largest sex abuse settlement against a School District in the US. The firm currently represents more than 180 alleged victims of former Michigan State University and U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Team doctor Larry Nassar. Michigan State University has settled this case for $500,000,000, the largest settlement of any personal injury case against a University.

Dalton Law Firm is a Delaware-based law firm representing victims of child abuse, medical malpractice, and automobile accidents. Founding partner Bart Dalton is a former Delaware Deputy Attorney General and past president of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Mr. Dalton holds the largest Medical Malpractice and automobile accident verdicts in the history of Delaware. Sarah Klein is an attorney with the firm.

Krantz & Berman LLP is a distinguished civil and criminal litigation boutique founded in 1998 by Larry Krantz and Marjorie Berman. It handles white-collar criminal and regulatory matters, business litigation, civil rights and employment litigation, and FINRA Arbitrations. Larry H. Krantz is a former federal prosecutor with over thirty years of trial and appellate litigation experience. He is a Fellow and Regent of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Director of the Federal Bar Council (Ex Officio), and a Director (former) of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers.

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Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is regarded as America's leading law firm for sexual abuse cases. As a firm that exclusively handles sexual abuse cases, our California law firm offers experienced representation to obtain justice for sexual abuse survivors, harassment, and discrimination.

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