Church in Crisis
The Rev. Robert Gray
September 29, 2002
[See the main page of this special section on the Church
Gray is named in one lawsuit that also accuses the Rev. Louis E. Miller.
The archdiocese returned Gray, who is retired but has assisted at St.
Elizabeth of Hungary, to active ministry after police closed an investigation
of Gray. That investigation concerned allegations made by the plaintiff
in the lawsuit, James R. Sullivan Sr. There is no mention of Miller in
the police investigation file, a copy of which was given to The Courier-Journal
under the state open records law. Police closed the investigation, labeling
the claim against Gray as "unsubstantiated" and saying that
Sullivan would not cooperate. The dates of the alleged abuse by Gray in
the criminal investigation were about "1978 and again in 1983-84,"
while the civil lawsuit said on and after 1980. Sullivan said that the
detective assigned to the case never contacted him after their initial
phone conversation. He said he didn't mention Miller to her on the phone.
Sullivan said he mentioned Miller to Capt. Richard Dotson, the commander
of the Crimes Against Children Unit. Dotson said it's possible Sullivan
approached him, according Louisville police spokeswoman Helene Kramer.
Dotson said he has been approached by many people about possible priest
abuse, and he advises them all to call the Crimes Against Children Unit
and schedule an interview with a detective, Kramer said.
PLAINTIFF: James R. Sullivan Sr.
OCCUPATION: Truck driver, plumber
FILED SUIT: May 23
DEFENDANT: Archdiocese of Louisville
DATE AND LOCATION OF ALLEGED ABUSE: About 1980 when Gray
was assigned to St. Vincent de Paul Church and Miller was at St. Elizabeth
ACCUSATION: Molestation, abuse, fondling
WHERE ALLEGED ABUSE OCCURRED: Sullivan declined to be
specific other than that all the abuse occurred on church property.
DETAILS OF ALLEGATION: Sullivan said he knew Gray because
he went to school at St. Vincent de Paul, and that abuse occurred in the
second grade and again when he was in the sixth grade. The complaint says
that in an effort to seek protection from Gray, Sullivan went to Miller,
who was involved with a scouting troop at St. Elizabeth of Hungary. On
the second occasion seeking help, Sullivan said Miller grabbed Sullivan's
genitals and asked if that's what Gray did to him.
WAS ANYONE TOLD? Sullivan said he told his father, his
grandmother and his sixth-grade teacher. He said he believes the teacher
told him to tell his parents. He also said he called the archdiocese twice,
first in 1994 when he spoke to a priest who told him that a report would
be made, Sullivan said. Sullivan said he called back repeatedly and left
messages to check on the outcome of any investigation, but he never heard
any more and eventually dropped it. He said he told a social worker at
Caritas Peace Center in 1998, a nun, who told him to call the archdiocese.
Sullivan said he did that, but isn't sure who he spoke with. Nothing happened
as a result, he said.
IN THE PLAINTIFF'S WORDS: "I haven't left my faith
or my church. I just don't go to the church."