Law Firm of Estey and Bomberger Files Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against the Diocese of Syracuse

June 7, 2017

Diocese of Syracuse found that the victim’s claims of violent sexual abuse were credible and resulted in the removal of Father Felix Colosimo

A sexual abuse lawsuit (Federal District of Connecticut, Case 3:17-cv-00906) against the Diocese of Syracuse was filed in a Connecticut Federal Court due to acts of pedophilia committed by a priest who allegedly took the plaintiff, then a minor altar boy, from New York to Connecticut in order to molest him.

The federal lawsuit states that Father Felix Colosimo, then with the Diocese of Syracuse, drove a then 12-year-old Matthew Strzepek to a conference of priests in New York City in late 1987. It is at that New York City meeting, the lawsuit claims, where Father Colosimo sexually abused Strzepek at the hotel and then drove him to nearby Connecticut where Strzepek was again molested by Father Colosimo.

For 13 years, from 1977 to 1990, Strzepek alleges that Father Colosimo molested him hundreds of times and in numerous Northeastern states. On one occasion according to the lawsuit, Colosimo forced Strzepek and another altar boy to have sex with him and with each other, videotaping and photographing the two. The other altar boy could not overcome the trauma associated with the abuse and committed suicide a few years ago.

As is common with many childhood sexual abuse victims, Strzepek repressed the memories for more than two decades. Strzepek’s earliest memories, according to the claim, are of Colosimo taking him into his bedroom at Saint Peters Rectory in Utica, New York when he was four or five years old and sexually abusing him.

In December of 2013, after working through the sex abuse memories with a therapist, Strzepek submitted his claims to the Diocese of Syracuse. In July of 2014, the Diocese found the claims “credible” and offered Strzepek six counseling sessions.

“By bringing this civil lawsuit we hope to hold both the perpetrator and the Church responsible for failing to protect our children, including Matt, and put the shame back where it belongs—with the people who were supposed to keep Matt safe,” said Steve Estey, attorney for Strzepek.

“Had the Diocese of Syracuse made a good faith effort to help me heal after they found my claims credible we would not be here today,” said Strzepek.

Strzepek’s legal team includes experienced and award winning sexual abuse attorneys with a national reputation for helping childhood molestation victims. The team includes California attorneys Steven Estey (Estey and Bomberger, LLP) along with Robert Allard and Lauren Cerri (Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard) and Indiana attorney Jon Little (Saeed & Little), Connecticut attorney Ryan Miller, and famed New York City private investigator and former FBI agent Joseph O’Brien.