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Local church abuse victim to get day in court

Many of the lawsuits being filed under the state’s new Child Victims Act have pseudonyms for the victims’ names attached to their court filings.

Not Peter Saracino of Phelps, who alleges a Capuchin priest at the former Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary on Lochland Road in Geneva abused him when he was 8 or 9.

If you saw local television coverage Wednesday where attorneys announced they had filed lawsuits on the first day that the Child Victims Act took effect, you may have seen Saracino front and center, talking about his case.

The Act greatly extends the litigation window for those who claimed they were sexually abused as children. The fact that Saracino was one of the victims appearing with lawyers at the press conference in Rochester is hardly a surprise. He has been one of the Catholic Church’s most vocal critics when it comes to clergy abuse and speaks freely about what he says happened to him at the former seminary.

Under the Act, victims can now file civil suits until age 55 and seek criminal charges until 28; the previous law was capped at 23. Saracino also is taking advantage of a one-year litigation window that allows those older than 55 to file lawsuits.

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