Attorneys Seeking to Withdraw from Abuse Suit against Priest

By Nancy Lofholm
Denver Post
February 19, 1998

The attorneys for the former Littleton man who is suing the Rev. Marshall Gourley for alleged sexual abuse have asked to be removed from the case.

The law firm of Dallas attorney Windle Turley and the Denver law firm of Stutz, Miller & Urtz filed a motion in U.S. District Court Wednesday asking to withdraw from representing John Dean Ayon because of a conflict of interest.

The motion said the conflict involves a "confidential situation" that deals directly with matters protected by attorney-client privilege.

Ayon sued Gourley in September 1997 alleging that Gourley had sexually exploited him over a four-year period in the early 1980s when Ayon went to Gourley for counseling. Ayon, who was 17 when the alleged abuse began, is now a 33-year-old San Diego lawyer.

Gourley, the popular pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, has denied Ayon's charges.

Attorneys for Gourley filed a motion last October asking that Ayon's $20 million lawsuit be thrown out because the suit is full of vague and unspecified accusations.

Gourley, 48, was removed as head of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, after 15 years of service, a month after Ayon filed suit.

Turley, who specializes in sexual abuse cases involving clergy, won a record $119.6 million lawsuit last year in a sexual abuse case similar to Ayon's.


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