Archdiocese faces 4th suit based on grand-jury report

Cardinal Justin Rigali is named in the latest lawsuit.
Cardinal Justin Rigali is named in the latest lawsuit.
Posted: March 22, 2011

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia was hit yesterday with the fourth in a series of new lawsuits that blame church officials for failing to protect children from sexually abusive priests.

The lawsuits mirror accusations made by city prosecutors in a grand-jury report last month that led several priests to be charged with rape and, in a rare move, a church official to be charged with child endangerment.

Yesterday's suit, filed by a 32-year-old Arizona man, is the second that names the late Monsignor John E. Gillespie as the abuser. The "John Doe" who sued yesterday said Gillespie had abused him from 1988 to 1991, when he was an altar boy at the Our Lady of Calvary parish in the Northeast. Gillespie continued to work around children even after being sent for sex-abuse treatment sometime before 1991, the suit charged.

The suit, filed by attorney Jeffrey Anderson, cites findings by the latest grand jury, which alleged that the Archdiocese was using its victim-services office to protect church interests, not victims.

A 2005 grand-jury report alleges that Gillespie's abuse dated as far back as 1957. He resigned from his parish assignment in 2000, after then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua determined that he was a risk, but he remained active in ministry anyway, the suit said.

The defendants include Bevilacqua; Cardinal Justin Rigali; Monsignor William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy who was charged last month with child endangerment; Karen Becker, head of the archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection, and Maggie Marshall, a victim-assistance coordinator.

The Archdiocese declined to comment yesterday.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|