Upstate sex abuse victim comes forward, wants law to be passed

Jack Cesare was molested inside the St. Teresa of Avila School in 1977.Albany Times Union

Jack Cesare was molested inside the St. Teresa of Avila School in 1977.

Only the 2011 arrest of Penn State pervert Jerry Sandusky convinced an upstate sex abuse victim to end decades of silence about his own nightmarish abuse.

“Something happened — I said to myself, ‘You know what? I have to come forward,’” recalled Jack Cesare, a former upstate Catholic schoolboy molested by a predatory janitor while in grammar school.

Sandusky, tried and convicted in Pennsylvania, will die behind bars. The man who raped 13-year-old Cesare in Albany lived another 20 years and died a free man, a beneficiary of New York State law.


The 1977 assault inside the St. Teresa of Avila School was never addressed in its aftermath, with Cesare too humiliated to say anything until long after the statute of limitations in his case expired.

Jack Cesare, a former upstate Catholic schoolboy, was molested by a predatory janitor while in grammar school.

Jack Cesare, a former upstate Catholic schoolboy, was molested by a predatory janitor while in grammar school.

He doesn’t want the same thing to happen to another youngster. And he still wants a measure of justice for himself.

“I want a law to be passed and a jury to decide what my pain is worth,” said Cesare, now 52 and living in Florida. “I want to prove the Albany diocese was a crime scene, a candy store for pedophiles.”

The upstate parish, in addition to the vile janitor, hosted a pedophile priest as its pastor from 1978-82.

Like Sandusky, the Rev. Gary Mercure was convicted. The priest was found guilty of raping two New York altar boys while vacationing in Massachusetts.

State law in Massachusetts gives child sex abuse victims up to age 32 to file civil or criminal charges — and the clock stops running if the abuser moves out of state.

Under current Empire State law, victims have until the age of 23 to head into court before the statute kicks in.

Cesare’s tormentor never spent a day behind bars or faced any charges. The molester is now dead, his crimes — like his small victims — outliving the twisted school worker.

According to Cesare, he was in the eighth grade when the school employee steered him from the school playground into a janitorial room off the gymnasium. He raped the teen as two other students stood outside waiting.


One of those two boys later joined Cesare in recounting tales of abuse at the janitor’s hands. Cesare actually contacted a number of his long-ago classmates, and learned that several of them were targeted, too.

Penn State pervert Jerry Sandusky (c.) was arrested in 2011 and will die behind bars.Andy Colwell/AP

Penn State pervert Jerry Sandusky (c.) was arrested in 2011 and will die behind bars.

Cesare said the janitor’s perverse sexual proclivities were known to school faculty, but nobody did a thing to stop the molestation.

The events of 1977 continued to impact Cesare nearly four decades later.

“It’s a sickening cycle that never ends,” he explained. “It lasts into your adult life, and ruins your relationships. You can’t have a normal relationship.

“You live with the pain and the guilt all your life, and you keep trying to find ways to deal with it.”

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