24 PRIESTS NAMED IN LAWSUIT (Plaintiffs seek $300 million)

Twenty-seven Catholics who grew up in Brooklyn and Queens claim in a lawsuit that parish priests raped, sodomized and molested them as children in the 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s.  Their allegations are contained in a $300 million lawsuit filed yesterday in State Supreme Court in Queens that also accuses the leadership of the Diocese of Brooklyn of a complex, well-organized, corrupt and successful scheme to cover up the abuse.  The suit names 24 priests as defendants, including at least three who still work in the diocese.  Salvatore Carlino, a Deer Park businessman who is one of the plaintiffs, alleges he was molested by the Rev. Patrick Sexton during the 1980s at St. Cecilia's Parish in Greenpoint.  Sexton, also the subject of other sexual abuse complaints, is no longer working as a priest.  In the past, he has denied such allegations.

One of those accused, the Rev. Vincent Gallo, pastor of St. Panras Church in Glendale, express shock at the allegation.

Also named as defendants were two priests assigned to administrative positions on the diocese's marriage tribunal, the Rev. Hugo Bedoya and Msgr. Francis Mulhall.  

Yesterday's lawsuit is the second such suit filed against the diocese by attorney Michael Dowd.  The first case, filed last October, named 42 plaintiffs and 13 priests as defendants.  Eight of the clergymen named in the first suit also are named in yesterday's lawsuit, but by different alleged victims.  Among those named in both suits is Rev. James Collins who was suspended from his job last year at Bishop Kearney High School in Brooklyn, where his title was chaplain.  The new allegation accuses Collins of fondling an altar boy in the priests' residence of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills in the 1980s.