In 2001, the Holy See issued new legislation to assist bishops in handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clerics. Consistent with that legislation, in 2002, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops established the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and Essential Norms. The Charter provides comprehensive procedures for addressing such allegations, requiring each diocese in the United States to initiate specific actions to create safe environments. The Charter also directs action in the following areas: healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors; prompt and effective response to allegations; cooperation with civil authorities; disciplining offenders; and providing for means of accountability.
This list summarizes the current dispositions of claims resolved since the Charter’s publication in 2002.
The Diocese confirms that all priests with either acknowledged or proven allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been removed from ministry.
The disposition entitled “Prayer and Penance” is explained as follows: The Essential Norms recognize that there might be cases where a priest or deacon has either admitted to a past act of abuse or has been found guilty of one, but dismissal from the clerical state does not occur. This could happen, for instance, when a priest is seriously ill or of advanced age. In these cases, too, he is forbidden from all public ministry and from otherwise presenting himself as a priest. He is expected to dedicate his life to praying for victims and repenting of his past offenses.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, you should contact the appropriate civil authorities.
To receive help and guidance from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, please contact Deborah Housel, victim assistance coordinator at (585) 328-3210, ext. 1555 or (toll-free) 1-800-388-7177, ext. 1555 or by e-mail to
1. Cases concluded canonically by dismissal or prayer and penance. The clerics whose names are included in this section either have been dismissed from the clerical state or assigned to a life of prayer and penance, with no public ministry possible.
Thomas Burr Prayer and Penance
Thomas Corbett Prayer and Penance (deceased)
Robert Hammond Prayer and Penance (deceased)
William Lum Prayer and Penance
Vincent Panepinto Prayer and Penance
David Simon Prayer and Penance (deceased)
Francis Vogt Prayer and Penance (deceased)
Robert Winterkorn Prayer and Penance (deceased)
Paul Schnacky Prayer and Penance
Eugene Emo Dismissed from the clerical state (deceased)
Dennis Sewar Dismissed from the clerical state
Dennis Shaw Dismissed from the clerical state
2. Cases concluded canonically by voluntary laicization. Laicization is a canonical process whereby the cleric voluntarily requests that he be separated from the clerical state. In this section are the names of priests who sought laicization after being accused of sexual crimes, including those accused of the sexual abuse of a minor.
Albert Cason (deceased)
Paul Cloonan (deceased)
3. Complaints unresolved due to death of accused cleric. This section includes the names of deceased clergy for whom criminal or canonical proceedings were not completed, but the existence of allegations has been publicized. At the time of their death, they were not involved in public ministry.
4. Complaints received after the death of a cleric and publicized.
In addition to those named above, cases of sexual abuse of a minor have been acknowledged or proven in connection with the following individuals:
John Gormley (Returned to the lay state in 1971)
Ronald Frederick (deceased)
Daniel Karl (deceased)
Timothy Weider (Resigned in 1980, returned to the lay state 2019)