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A new lawsuit in the Empire State claims a Rockville Centre priest was the main lynchpin in a scheme to silence clergy sex abuse victims. Attorneys for the plaintiff are further urging New York's attorney general to launch an investigation into racketeering. Church Militant's William Mahoney delves into the lawsuit and the apparent conspiracy.
Peter Starks: "I was mentally and physically abused by Fr. Donald Joyce, a member of a religious order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate."
Peter Starks, the plaintiff and a clergy sex abuse survivor, is suing the Oblates of Mary Immaculate that shuffled around his abuser, Fr. Donald Joyce and kept Joyce in residence until his death in 2013. His parents were devastated when they learned of Joyce's homosexual predation, and so Starks reached out to Joyce's superiors for help.
Peter Starks: "Father Joyce and his superior arrived at my parent's home along with another completely unexpected priest, Fr. Alan Placa, who was introduced merely as an escort for the abuser while traveling. Father Placa remained completely silent throughout the meeting until, at the very end, he asked me to step into the kitchen."
In the kitchen, Msgr. Alan Placa was hiding he was a civil attorney. He offered Starks some money for therapy and asked the survivor to sign what Placa called a "receipt," which Starks later learned was a non-disclosure agreement.
The law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates is representing Starks.
Jeff Anderson: "What the Catholic bishop and top officials did in deploying Alan Placa and that 'team' under the guise of helping and/or caring as priests actually tricked and hurt Peter Starks and others like him."
In a press conference Monday, Anderson explained Placa was a top lieutenant in a scheme concocted by New York bishops and heads of religious orders. Placa headed a team that appeased and oppressed survivors by luring them into signing gag orders for secret settlements.
Jeff Anderson: "This lawsuit is directed to that practice and that [sic] employed by him as top lieutenant for the top officials in New York."
In the early 2000s, the Nassau County district attorney's office announced Placa was under investigation for molesting a teenage boy in the late 1970s. Similar accusations against Placa surfaced, and, in 2002, the Rockville Centre diocese forbade him to function as a priest.
In a twist to this tale, that same year, lifelong friend Rudy Giuliani gave Placa a job at Giuliani Partners, where he's still employed to this day. This is why, in addition to the lawsuit, Jeff Anderson & Associates is also calling for an investigation into racketeering and for Giuliani to fire Placa.
Peter Starks: "Father Placa has to be sanctioned. He has to be stopped. And gag orders have to be invalidated."
Undoubtedly, the worst part of such schemes to protect Church assets and silence victims is how perverted predators are able to continue unencumbered to prey on children.
Placa was best man at Giuliani's first wedding in 1968. He later helped Giuliani obtain an annulment and presided over his second wedding in 1982. Giuliani divorced his second wife in 2002 — the same year he hired Placa as an attorney — and married again in 2003.