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Church in Crisis
The Rev. John Elder

Louisville Courier-Journal
September 29, 2002

http://www.courierjournal.com/cjextra/2002projects/priestabuse/stories/elder_stbarnabas.html

[See the main page of this special section on the Church in Crisis.]

Elder, who died in 1993, is accused in three lawsuits of abusing girls. Elder served at Holy Name, St. John, Our Lady, Our Lady Help of Christians, St. Barnabas and St. Pius X parishes and at Sacred Heart Home.

ST. JOHN

PLAINTIFF: Loretta Robinson
AGE: 53
ADDRESS: Louisville
OCCUPATION: Restaurant server
FILED SUIT: May 8
DEFENDANT: Archdiocese of Louisville
DATE AND LOCATION OF ALLEGED ABUSE: 1959, St. John Church rectory, school
ACCUSATION: Fondling, exposure to abuse of friend
DETAILS: Robinson was about 10 when, she said, Elder fondled her at least a couple of times. She said she also saw Elder abuse a friend, Diana (Sewell) Spencer, and that Elder was grinning at her during the abuse.
WAS ANYONE TOLD? She said she told a younger sister. Later, as an adult, she said she told other sisters and a friend.
IN THE PLAINTIFF'S WORDS: "(Elder) was always drinking, always. He would like to touch you at the bingos. He was always grinning that nasty grin.... It's not about taking their money, like they think. It's about bringing closure and hoping that somebody will believe you."



PLAINTIFF: Diana (Sewell) Spencer
AGE: 53
ADDRESS: Louisville
OCCUPATION: Unemployed
FILED SUIT: May 8
DEFENDANT: Archdiocese of Louisville
DATE AND LOCATION OF ALLEGED ABUSE: 1959, St. John Church rectory, hall
ACCUSATION: Fondling
DETAILS: Spencer said Elder called her into his office, pinned her against a desk and fondled her. She said he also fondled her on other occasions, such as outside of bingo events.
WAS ANYONE TOLD? No
IN THE PLAINTIFF'S WORDS: "I want them to know that what (church officials) had done was wrong. They should have known ... what was going on."


ST. BARNABAS

PLAINTIFF: Janice Winter Marks
AGE: 43
ADDRESS: Oldham County
OCCUPATION: Publisher, grant writer
FILED SUIT: Aug. 22
DEFENDANT: Archdiocese of Louisville
DATE AND LOCATION OF ALLEGED ABUSE: 1973, St. Barnabas Church restroom
ACCUSATION: Fondling
DETAILS: Marks had been teaching religious education to younger children one weekend and used the restroom. She said Elder forced his way into the stall, fondled her and told her women's bodies were sinful and she needed to confess her sins.
WAS ANYONE TOLD? No
IN THE PLAINTIFF'S WORDS: The words "rang in my ears and still do. But I don't feel ashamed anymore. I'm not giving him that power anymore."

 
 

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