Turn to Tara: Victims of alleged pedophile Catholic school teacher say church is stalling justice

The accused teacher, Edwin Gaynor, is described as a known pedophile who, disturbingly, was shuffled from one school to another for nearly four decades.

Tara Rosenblum

Aug 7, 2023, 9:53 AM

Updated 351 days ago


In a Turn to Tara exclusive, victims of an alleged pedophile Catholic school teacher are breaking their silence to voice frustration with what they say is a stalled pursuit of justice in their high-profile case.
Gregory Morra is one of 36 plaintiffs involved in an abuse lawsuit against several Catholic schools across Westchester County and the New York Archdiocese.
The lawsuit alleges that the institutions were aware of a former teacher's sexual abuse of students but failed to take appropriate action.
The accused physical education teacher, Edwin Gaynor, is described as a known pedophile who was shuffled from one school to another for nearly four decades. Schools include Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Scarsdale, St. Bernard in White Plains and Holy Rosary in Hawthorne between 1957 and 1986.
Gaynor, who was in charge of mentoring and coaching young elementary school athletes, is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing dozens of young boys between 8 - 14 over decades - including Morra.
Morra was in fifth grade at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Scarsdale in 1969 when he says the grooming began.
"It starts off with massages," he says. "And then his hand is in your crotch and then his hand is opening up your pants and then your pants are coming down. That was my introduction to ridiculously sick stuff."
He says some of the alleged sexual misconduct happened in private, but other times, his classmates would be standing only feet away.
On one occasion, Morra claims to have witnessed another classmate getting molested and remembers feeling relieved he was spared that day - too ashamed to come clean with his parents about that alleged abuse that he says lasted about a year.
Morra and the other plaintiffs filed their case under New York's Victim Act, seeking accountability and redress for the harm they endured. However, Morra asserts that the archdiocese is deliberately dragging its feet in the courts, causing a four-year delay in the proceedings to evade financial responsibility.
When asked about their expectations of justice, Morra emphasized the importance of the archdiocese accepting responsibility for not protecting them and their peers from the alleged perpetrator. In response, the archdiocese has denied any wrongdoing.
Gaynor died last year a free man, leaving behind what appears to be a handwritten confession admitting to the fondling of an 11-year-old boy.
"He sat on my lap to use the phone," Gaynor wrote. "And there, I molested him."
A spokesman said in a statement to News 12, "The Archdiocese of New York takes every allegation of abuse seriously and responds to those bringing an allegation with sensitivity and respect. While we are striving to settle all meritorious claims, we cannot comment on active cases."
The alleged victims are seeking an unspecified amount in damages, according to their attorney, Barbara Hart.

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