Ex-Malvern Prep student sues, alleging abuse

Posted: July 27, 2012

A former Malvern Preparatory School student has sued the school, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and a former teacher who he contends sexually abused him during his freshman year.

The plaintiff, a Delaware County man identified in the complaint as John Doe 191, alleges that he was sexually abused in 1997 and 1998 by the Rev. John R. Liggio. The priest was the campus ministry director and taught religion at the school run by the Order of St. Augustine, which also is being sued. Liggio, who is believed to be living in Florida, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In 2003, the Chester County District Attorney's Office closed an investigation of Liggio involving the same student, explaining that it could find no evidence that Liggio had sexually abused the then-15-year-old boy. Marci A. Hamilton, a lawyer for the plaintiff, verified that her client was the alleged victim in the criminal investigation but said he was "not of a state of mind to pursue it" at the time. The suit, filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $50,000.

Donna Farrell, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined to comment because the litigation is pending. But she noted what she said was an error in the suit, which states that the school was founded by Augustinians "but is now operated and controlled by the archdiocese." Said Farrell: "The archdiocese does not operate Malvern Prep." - Robert Moran

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