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2 more sue alleging sex abuse by late Orange County priest

Two more men have filed lawsuits alleging that a priest at Holy Cross Church in Wawayanda sexually abused them for years while their families belonged to the church and they were altar boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

The cases were filed in state Supreme Court in Orange County last week on behalf of Russell Coelho, who now lives in Milford, Pa., and Kevin Dow, who lives in Tampa. Each suit is seeking damages from the Middletown-based Carmelite order that runs the church and was brought under the Child Victims Act, a state law enacted this year that gave past victims of childhood sexual abuse a one-year opportunity to sue their abusers and the institutions that employed them.

The priest accused of molesting Coelho and Dow was the Rev. George Boxelaar, who left the priesthood in 1985 and died in 1990 after returning to his native Holland. He had worked in Orange County for nearly 30 years at Holy Cross, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown and Our Lady of the Scapular Church in Unionville.

The lawsuits allege Boxelaar sexually abused at least 30 children during his time in Orange County. Both cases were filed by two firms that teamed up for Child Victims Act cases: Marsh Law Firm, which has offices in White Plains, and Seattle-based Pfau Cochran Vertitis Amala.

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