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Lawsuit Filed Against Diocese, Randolph Church

An unnamed woman has filed a Child Victims Act lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Randolph.

The four-page court filing was received Dec. 30 in state Supreme Court in Erie County, where the headquarters for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is located. A woman accuses Father Joseph P. Friel of sexually abusing and sexually assaulting her while Friel was serving as priest at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church while the woman was a child taking religious instruction at the church.

“Father Joseph P. Friel threatened the minor plaintiff not to tell anyone about the sexual abuse and if she did ‘the devil would get her,'” the woman’s lawsuit filing states.

According to a story by Steve Brown and Dave Harrington on WGRZ.com posted Feb. 6, 2019, at least eight people have come forward saying they were sexually abused by Friel in the 1960s and 1970s. The woman does not specify when she was allegedly abused, but the website of Jeff Anderson and Associates, a Minnesota-based law firm prosecuting many former priests accused of sexually abusing children, states Friel was stationed at St. Patrick from 1978 through 1982.

“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church knew or should have known that Father Joseph P. Friel was a danger to minor children before he had sexually abused and assaulted the infant plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.”

Friel died in 1995, with his privileges to function as a priest revoked by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in 1992 after Friel became ill.

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