Late Berkshire Priest's Estate Sued

By Bill Zajac
[Springfield MA] Republican
May 5, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - A North Adams man has filed suit against the estate of a priest, saying he was abused as a minor by the cleric, who was removed from ministry because of allegations of sexual misconduct.

C.J. Doe, 31, who filed the suit under a pseudonym to protect his privacy, stated in the suit that the late Rev. Donald V. Dube raped and molested him while Dube served as pastor of Notre Dame Parish in North Adams and the plaintiff was between the ages of 8 and 10. He served as an altar boy in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The suit, filed on Friday in Hampden Superior Court, lists the defendant as the Rev. Leo A. Leclerc, the executor of Dube's estate. Leclerc is vicar-general of the diocese.

Dube, who died in December at the age of 68, was assigned to many parishes in more than 30 years of service in the diocese. He was removed from ministry in 1994 while assigned to Notre Dame Parish in Easthampton.

His removal followed a recommendation of the Misconduct Commission, now the Review Board, which hears accusations against priests and diocesan personnel.

It is not known how many accusations were made against Dube. The diocese's policy is not to release such details.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield was not named as a defendant because there is a moratorium on clergy sexual abuse suits against the diocese while attempts are made to mediate a settlement on previously filed suits, said Doe's lawyer, John J. Stobierski, this week.

"There is an agreement that provides that we can add the diocese as a defendant if the settlement discussions fail," he said.

The bulk of assets in Dube's estate is the home he owned in Sturbridge, according to Stobierski. The assessed value of the home at 51 Caron Road is $192,200, according to the Sturbridge assessors' office.

Doe said yesterday that he decided to file the suit after reading Dube's obituary in local newspapers last December.

"The obituary listed all these accomplishments and made him out to be this wonderful priest," he said. "He was a molester who was kicked out of the diocese."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.