REGION—Four men from Minooka are seeking restitution through the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas from the Diocese of Scranton for incidents of sexual abuse they allege occurred while they were between the ages of 7 and 14.

Wednesday morning, Attorneys Kevin C. Quinn, Esquire, and Christopher C. Quinn, Esquire of Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn filed separate lawsuits against Bishop James Timlin and Bishop Joseph Bambera on behalf of plaintiffs Micheal C. Heil, James J. Pliska, John Patchcoski and a man identified only as “M.A.”

Seeking both compensatory and punitive damages against the Diocese and its bishops, the plaintiffs assert claims against them for conspiracy, fraud and constructive fraud.

The Associated Press states the plaintiffs “...are believed to be the first to take advantage of a recent Pennsylvania appeals court ruling that could make it easier for some victims of abuse to pursue civil claims.”

According to a press release, the plaintiffs “...seek to hold the Diocese and its Bishops accountable for their role in: creating and fostering an environment that allowed and encouraged sexually deviant and predatory Priests to prey upon and forcibly rape, sodomize and sexually molest innocent young boys; and then conspiring to withhold and safeguard known information of such heinous acts perpetrated by Diocesan Priests.”

This is the first round of lawsuits filed against the Diocese since the Grand Jury released the results of its investigation into several local diocese.

Last August, the Grand Jury investigated approximately 300 priests in six Roman Catholic Diocese who victimized over 1,000 children since the 1940s.

Of those 300 priests, 53 were in the Diocese of Scranton, which serves Wayne, Pike, Lackawanna, Monroe, Susquehanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Sullivan, Bradford, Tioga and Lycoming counties.

The plaintiffs, now between the ages of 45 and 57, claim “...as children they were sexually abused by Father Michael Pulicare, who formerly served as Assistant Pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Minooka,” states a release.

It further notes, the plaintiffs state it was only after the Grand Jury's report “...they learned that Diocesan Bishops and other Administrators were well aware of the rampant abuse of minors by Diocesan Priests and actively conspired to withhold information about Priests known to act upon their homosexual and pedophilic proclivities from unsuspecting Parishioners while maintaining secret and confidential archives.”

Details of their victimization include allegations of “rape, sodomy and other perverted acts of abuse by Father Pulicare that they claim have left them with indelible emotional scars,” states a release.

“In at least one case, some of the abuse occurred in the Cathedral Rectory while Bishop Timlin served as Bishop of the Diocese, resided under the same roof and knew that Father Pulicare was sharing the same bedroom and bed with one of his victims.”

Between his ordination in 1971 and his departure due to health reasons in 1999, Pulicare served at:

• Saint Ann, Shohola;

• Most Precious Blood, Hazelton.

• Saint Anthony of Padua, Dunmore;

• Bishop O'Hara High School, Dunmore, as an instructor;

• Saint Matthew, East Stroudsburg,

• Saint Joseph, Scranton;

• Chaplain of the Forest Lakes Council of Boy Scouts;

• Saint Mary Czestochowa, Eynon;

• Saint Mary's Assumption, Jessup;

• Our Lady of Mount Caramel, Carbondale; and

• Saint John the Evangelist, Susquehanna.

Father Pulicare died in 1999.

Father Pulicare was not one of the 53 Diocese of Scranton priests identified in the Grand Jury report.