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Sexual Abuse and Christ the King Campus

Sexual Abuse and Christ the King Campus

Robert Oliva, the former celebrated basketball coach at Christ the King High School, resigned in January 2009 amid allegations that he sexually molested a child in a youth basketball program in Queens.  Oliva catapulted Christ the King to basketball fame, winning several titles in his 27-year career and developing a reputation for nurturing young athletes.  Jimmy Carlino accused Oliva of molesting him over a four-year period during the 1970s when Oliva ran a youth basketball program at St. Theresa School in Queens.  The sexual abuse persisted while Oliva was head coach at Christ the King High School.

While the abuse largely occurred in New York and was therefore barred by the statute of limitations, a single incident took place in Massachusetts while Oliva and Carlino attended a sporting event.  Massachusetts law did not preclude the claim, and in 2011, Oliva admitted to two counts of child rape and one count of disseminating pornography while in Boston with Carlino in 1976.  Now, the passage of New York’s revised statute of limitations opens the door for Carlino to refile a $20 million lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Brooklyn and other religious institutions for allowing the abuse to continue for years.  Carlino’s lawsuit alleges claims for assault, battery, negligence and emotional distress. 

Carlino, along with several other men who accused Oliva of molestation while he coached them as teenagers, holds Christ the King accountable for failing to take legal and corrective action after learning of the abuse.  Although the school had knowledge of Oliva’s conduct, it continued to allow Oliva to talk to and interact with students for months.  Christ the King permitted Oliva to conduct a summer basketball camp (with participants as young as seven years old) at the high school after it became aware of the allegations.  After a student told the school’s administration that Oliva admitted to abusing a former player, still no action was taken.  And when Carlino filed his initial lawsuit accusing Oliva and Christ the King of committing and concealing sexual abuse, a former city councilman and board trustee, Tom Ognibene, stated that Carlino was simply trying to shakedown the school for money.

Christ the King Campus includes Christ the King High School, Middle Village Preparatory School, Community Daycare, and Pre-K. The widespread negligence displayed by Christ the King in its failure to take action against its famed basketball coach mirrors the Catholic Church’s longstanding pattern of minimizing sexual abuse of children, using euphemisms to recharacterize the abuse as minor or unintentional, and allowing sexual predators to continue working with children in either alternative positions or other dioceses.  With the passage of New York’s new legislation, victims of Christ the King’s negligence can now seek recovery for their mental and emotional anguish.

Levy Konigsberg is a nationally recognized law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse.  If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual misconduct by a teacher, coach, or youth sports leader, please contact our lawyers for a free consultation by calling 1-800-225-9825 or submit an email inquiry on this page.

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