NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of sexual abuse allegations against a Catholic priest in Queens is growing.

Twenty-three women now say the former Rev. Adam Prochaski abused them as children when he served at the Holy Cross parish in Maspeth from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s.

The alleged victims are being represented by Mitch Garabedian who was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the Oscar-winning 2015 film “Spotlight.”

He believes the Brooklyn Diocese covered it up.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he was open and notorious,” he told WCBS 880. “He would sexually abuse children in the hallways.”

The parish has a large Polish congregation and Garabedian said many of these victims were first generation immigrants.

“I’ve heard that Father Prochaski used to help children get into the country and once they got into the country he sexually abused them,” Garabedian said. “He had a scheme going on and the supervisors were turning their backs and it was all about secrecy.”

Prochaski was suspended in 1994 and left the priesthood in 1995, but the official Catholic directory shows he was absent or on sick leave through 2002.

“Now that’s often code based on my experience for treatment for pedophilia,” Garabedian said.

A spokeswoman for the Brooklyn Diocese called the growing number of accusers terrible, telling the Daily News all of the alleged incidents took place decades ago before sweeping reform was implemented to ensure the protection of children.

The diocese has set up a compensation fund for the victims. The deadline for claims is Oct. 15.

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