Diocese and Cardinal O'Hara HS facing $300M lawsuit by former student

Feb 25, 2019

A Niagara County woman, who alleges being sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest when she was a teenager is suing the Diocese of Buffalo. It is believed to be the first suit of its kind, locally, since the state's Child Victims Act was signed into law earlier this month.

Gail Holler-Kennedy is suing the Diocese along with Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda and the Franciscan orders that ran the school for $300 million.  

"There is no amount that can ever bring back what was stolen from an innocent child when they were sexually abused," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian. He says Holler-Kennedy was abused dozens of times between 1978 and 1981 by her then-science teacher Father Mark Andrzejczuk.

"On multiple occassions he wrote passes excusing the plaintiff, a young girl, from attending another teacher's class. And when she was excused, he sexually assaulted her in an empty classroom," Garabedian said.  

Fr. Andrzejczuk died in 2011. But Garabedian says the damages he caused Holler-Kennedy are extensive.

"Where were the supervisors? They should have noticed that something was wrong and discovery will tell us the truth about what they knew about any cover up involved," Garabedian said.

Holler-Kennedy's lawsuit was filed days before she turned 55, the age survivors now have to file lawsuits under the new Child Victims Act.

A spokesperson for the diocese on Tuesday declined comment, saying the matter is now in litigation.