Lawsuits Filed Against the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop James Timlin and Bishop Joseph Bambera
At 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 28, 2019, Hourigan Kluger & Quinn Attorneys Kevin C. Quinn, Esq. and Christopher C. Quinn, Esq. filed separate lawsuits in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas against The Diocese of Scranton, Bishop James Timlin and Bishop Joseph Bambera on behalf of four men who seek to hold the Diocese and its Bishops accountable for their role in: creating and fostering an environment that allowed and encouraged sexually deviant and predatory Priests to prey upon and forcibly rape, sodomize and sexually molest innocent young boys; and then conspiring to withhold and safeguard known information of such heinous acts perpetrated by Diocesan Priests. A Press Conference immediately followed these filings and was held at 10:00 a.m. in the Steamtown Ballroom on the Second Floor of the Hilton Downtown Scranton Hotel and Conference Center.
The lawsuits were separately filed on behalf of Plaintiffs Michael C. Heil, James J. Pliska, John Patchcoski and “M.A.” (whose identity is being withheld), who all grew up in the Minooka Section of Scranton and maintain that as children they were sexually abused by Father Michael Pulicare, who formerly served as Assistant Pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Minooka. Father Pulicare died in 1999. The separate Complaints contain graphic details of the specific acts of sexual abuse these men claim they were subjected to between the ages of 7 and 14, including rape, sodomy and other perverted acts of abuse by Father Pulicare that they claim have left them with indelible emotional scars. In at least one case, some of the abuse occurred in the Cathedral Rectory while Bishop Timlin served as Bishop of the Diocese, resided under the same roof and knew that Father Pulicare was sharing the same bedroom and bed with one of his victims. Mr. Heil, Mr. Pliska and Mr. Patchcoski will be attending the Press Conference and will be available for comment.
The Plaintiffs, who range in age between 45 and 57, contend that it was not until the August 14, 2018 public release of the results of the Grand Jury Investigation commissioned by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office that they learned that Diocesan Bishops and other Administrators were well aware of the rampant abuse of minors by Diocesan Priests and actively conspired to withhold information about Priests known to act upon their homosexual and pedophilic proclivities from unsuspecting Parishioners while maintaining secret and confidential archives. Following the precedent recently set by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Rice v. Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the Plaintiffs assert claims against the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop Timlin and Bishop Bambera for conspiracy, fraud and constructive fraud and seek both compensatory and punitive damages. Wednesday’s filings will be the first lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Scranton and its leaders after the Rice decision opened the possibility for adult victims of clergy abuse to pursue civil remedies beyond the expiration of the normal statute of limitations.
Below are links to prior news coverage of this story: