Stephen Jimenez: Victim of the Diocese of Brooklyn
Truly one of the most heinous cases against the Diocese of Brooklyn, Merson Law represents Mr. Stephen Jimenez, a survivor of child sex abuse by the Diocese, its subsidiaries, and an employee of his former elementary school.
After personally lobbying for more than a dozen years to get the Child Victims Act passed in New York State, Mr. Jimenez brings forth a civil action following passage of the new law on February 14, 2019.
He worked closely with Governor Cuomo and his staff to ensure that all victims of child sex abuse in New York would finally have a “window” to justice in our courts, and that sexual predators would no longer be shielded by institutions, including the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Catholic Church.
A Childhood Lost
Mr. Jimenez’s abuse began when he was only ten years old. He was an altar boy who loved his school, church, teachers, and clergy, and did nothing to deserve the horrible fate that befell him. For four years, Mr. Jimenez suffered the brutal trauma of being repeatedly beaten, raped, and sodomized at his elementary school, in a setting parents assume to be a safe place for their children.
Tragically, this wasn’t the case for Mr. Jimenez.
The perpetrator of these intentional, malicious, and atrocious assaults on Mr. Jimenez as a child was none other than Brother Romanus (legal name: Salvador Brocato). Romanus was a Brother, Teacher, Coach, and Mentor who worked alongside, with, and for, the Diocese and the Church, and was regarded as a holy, trustworthy, respectable man.
Romanus took advantage of our client’s trust, admiration, and innocence, and exploited young Mr. Jimenez for his own perverse pleasure in a calculated fashion that’s characteristic of the worst sexual predators.
Romanus raped Mr. Jimenez dozens of times, and inappropriately fondled and molested Mr. Jimenez even more, all over New York City. These locations included but weren’t limited to: the elementary school that Mr. Jimenez attended, Bathhouses, Pools, Locker Rooms, Shower Stalls, Skating Rinks, and other public areas like Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, Manhattan’s Central Park, the Coney Island Boardwalk, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Romanus even took it upon himself to violate and rape Mr. Jimenez in the basement of the lower Church.
For Mr. Jimenez, the sexual abuse started in the classroom where Romanus taught, where other boys were present and also abused. It rapidly escalated as Romanus forced Mr. Jimenez to become his own personal sex slave to fulfill his deviant desires.
Young Mr. Jimenez lived in constant fear as he was aware that another Holy Name boy had died in a pool at Coney Island, while in the care of Romanus just two years prior to the abuse he was subjected to – the same pool Romanus took Mr. Jimenez to. This serial predator was so comfortable, and conducted himself with such impunity, that he allegedly had inappropriate sexual relationships with many boys in addition to Mr. Jimenez.
The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Mr. Jimenez and other sexual abuse survivors were silenced with repeated corporal punishment as the students at Holy Name Elementary were relentlessly beaten by their superiors with paddles, sticks, metal rulers, and even their bare fists. Mr. Jimenez had bruises, welts, and open gash wounds as a result of Romanus’ beatings. One boy’s wrist had snapped and broke as a result of said beatings.
It is clear that such open and obvious conduct was accepted, approved, and permitted by the Diocese of Brooklyn, and everyone else that was involved.
As a direct result of what he was forced to endure as a young child, Mr. Jimenez has lived with constant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. He has also struggled painfully for decades to have longstanding and fulfilling personal and professional relationships.
To say that Mr. Jimenez’s life has been severely and unalterably impacted due to what occurred at his school and his place of worship – among many other locations, both public and private, at the hand of Romanus – would be a gross understatement. All of what Mr. Jimenez suffered as a young boy has been compounded by immeasurable institutional neglect, concealment, denial, and cover-up.
There is no doubt that there are many other victims out there who have been similarly abused, violated, molested, mistreated, and defiled as innocent and helpless children, by Romanus as well as other agents, servants and/or employees of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
This reprehensible criminal conduct cannot be allowed to stand. Merson Law stands with Mr. Jimenez and will not stop advocating and fighting for the many survivors of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church who finally have their chance to seek justice.