Sexual abuse claims at Bronx Catholic school spanning 3 decades come to life
It's taken him decades to tell his story, but one man is sharing with News 12 his traumatic memories of being sexually abused as a little boy for years at a Catholic school and community center in the Bronx. He says the time to get justice is now as the expiration date for the state's Child Victims Act approaches.
"As a little child, I could not process what was happening to me. I felt defenseless, I felt dirty. I felt it was my fault," said the man.
John Doe spoke with News 12's Asha McKenzie under protection of anonymity.
He says he was sexually abused by now deceased Rudy Tremaroli, a former employee at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School and Community Center.
"The first time I went in there he said, 'Do you like football?' and I said 'yes' and he was like 'Oh, I have to measure you for a jockstrap,'" Doe said. "He took me to his office, he closed the blinds and I thought that was weird and he told me to stand on the desk, which I did. He then pulled my pants down and then my underwear and he just started to fondle me a little bit and I kind of got a little weird and I froze, I froze immediately."
He says the abuse happened in the 1970s and continued.
Sixty-seven men have reported similar stories of abuse by Tremaroli when they were young boys, and all of the cases are being handled by Herman Law.
New York's Child Victims Act is set to expire this August, giving victims a chance to file claims of abuse no matter how long ago it happened.
"He tried to normalize his abuse of little boys - this is what you are, this is how I am going to make you a man. I am going to show you how to be with a girl and then he would touch them," said Jeff Herman.
More chilling details outlined in the complaint against the New York Archdiocese, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and school.
Victims say he would use a metal cigar holder to sodomize the boys, as well as sexually sodomizing them with his own body parts.
The complaint called the former basketball couch a serial predator, stating he would forcibly touch children's genitals in his 30 years at the school, force children to perform oral sex and force them to take nude photos.
These acts did not go unreported. Multiple victims claim they notified people at the school and church about what happened to them, but nothing happened to Tremaroli.
Though it happened decades ago, John Doe says the traumatic experience has stayed with him into adulthood, but the chance to finally speak up about it has been life shifting.
"This heavy thing on my shoulder that I never told anyone and now I still feel like that, but the burden has been lessened," John Doe said.
A spokesperson from the Archdiocese released a statement that said, "The Archdiocese of New York takes seriously all allegations of sexual abuse and treats those bringing those allegations with dignity and respect. However, the Archdiocese cannot comment on specific lawsuits brought forward under the Child Victims Act."
What is being called "Rudy Tremeroli's Reign of Terror" ended in 1992 when he died, but Herman says the chance for justice is not lost. He expects to go to trial with the first few cases by the fall.