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Boro priest sued over alleged affair

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An Elmhurst woman is suing the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens and a Floral Park church for $25 million, claiming a former pastor at Our Lady of the Snows seduced her into having an affair with him while she was going through a divorce, according to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Judith Rodrigues−Lytwyn contends the Rev. Elvis Elano persuaded her to have sex with him shortly after receiving her confession in March, when she told him about her husband, whom she said she was divorcing because he was physically abusive and a drug user, the lawsuit said.

The suit claims Elano told the 50−year−old Elmhurst woman that engaging in sex with him was “ordained by God” to help her overcome the pain caused by her husband.

“We believe [Elano] owed a duty” to take Rodrigues­Lytwyn’s confession professionally “and he breached that duty by hitting on her,” said the woman’s attorney, Andrew Laufer.

The suit names the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, Elano and Our Lady of the Snows Church in Floral Park, where Elano was a pastor from June 2007 to June 2008. Rodrigues−Lytwyn is seeking $25 million in damages and claims the diocese and church should have known about Elano’s behavior or should have had proper supervision for the priest.

In a statement, the diocese said Rodrigues−Lytwyn revealed “an inappropriate relationship” with a priest to them in August, but did not identify the priest or the parish where he served. It did not comment on the litigation because it was still reviewing the lawsuit. The diocese said Elano was ordained in the Philippines in 1992 and served at Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria from August 2001 to June 2004. He left Our Lady of the Snows in June to serve in the Archdiocese of New York, the diocese said.

The suit claims Elano “professed his love, devotion and physical attraction” to Rodrigues−Lytwyn shortly after he received her confession, telling her “your presence struck me like a thunderbolt.”

Rodrigues−Lytwyn “immediately became overwhelmed by ... Elano’s advances and soon thereafter succumbed to them, engaging in intercourse” with the priest, the suit alleges.

Included in the suit was an online order for Viagra purchased by Elano and sent to Rodrigues­Lytwyn’s Elmhurst home, sexually suggestive pictures of the priest with his shirt off and clutching a rose between his teeth and a receipt for a Montauk hotel where Rodrigues−Lytwyn and Elano allegedly had sex.

A parishioner at Our Lady of the Snows said she was supporting the church and believed Rodrigues−Lytwyn fabricated her claims.

“I love my church and I love my monsignor,” said churchgoer Margaret Fannelli, referring to the Rev. Ray Chappetto, the parish’s monsignor. “I think she made it up.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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