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Former Westchester Priest Among Eight Accused Of Child Sex Abuse

St. Johns The Baptist Church in Yonkers.
St. Johns The Baptist Church in Yonkers. Photo Credit: Google Maps

A former priest in Westchester was among eight named by a prominent Boston attorney on Wednesday who allegedly sexually abused children decades ago.

On the steps of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester on Wednesday, attorney Mitchell Garabedian announced the names of eight pastors - including Thomas J. Valenti, who served at St. John the Baptist Church in Yonkers for a decade before departing in 2014 - who are alleged to have sexually abused more than a dozen children while serving at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.

Valenti currently serves as the parochial administrator at Blessed Trinity St. Patrick’s parish in Owego. Allegations against him in Rochester stem from his time as a deacon around 1976 and continued at his next stop in Ontario in Wayne County. Garabedian also called on him to resign his current position.

In a statement Wednesday, the diocese stated the allegations against Valenti were investigated, reviewed and "determined to be unsubstantiated. No further complaints of sexual abuse of a minor against Father Valenti have ever been received." 

Although many of the priests named have since passed on, a group of 15 men and a pair of women who are all grown now, have come forward in the past six months with the sexual abuse allegations, Garabedian said Wednesday at the Diocese.

Garabedian - who became a national name when he was portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight” - said the abuse happened from 1950 to 1978, and the victims were between the ages of 5 and 18 years old. According to reports, he has called on the Diocese to release all records of any alleged incidents, including “secret files.” 

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