The bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Manchester, N.H., on Friday forcefully denied allegations that he sexually abused an altar boy while working as a parish priest on Long Island in the 1980s.
The alleged victim claims Bishop Peter Anthony Libasci repeatedly assaulted him in 1983 and 1984 at Saints Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church and school in Deer Park, N.Y., according to a lawsuit filed last week in Suffolk Supreme Court in New York.
Libasci’s lawyer, Michael Connolly of the downtown Boston firm Hinckley Allen, issued a statement Friday saying the allegations are not true.
“Bishop Libasci has dedicated over 43 years to serving others as a Roman Catholic priest, during which time he has earned an impeccable reputation for treating all individuals with dignity and respect,” the statement said. “While Bishop Libasci has great compassion for victims of sexual abuse, he will be forced to defend against these false allegations in court.”
Libasci, 69, worked in churches in New Jersey and New York before he was installed as the 10th bishop of the Manchester diocese in 2011. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., in 1978 and was assigned to St. Raymond Church in East Rockaway, N.Y., and then to Saints Cyril and Methodius until 1988.
Libasci’s accuser was a student at Saints Cyril and Methodius school from age 6 to 13 and said he was abused during his final two years. The lawsuit states that he was pressured by the “dominating culture” of the Catholic church to not report assaults.
Shelley Murphy of the Globe staff contributed to this report.