Woman Claims Priest Molested Her As a Child

The News-Sentinel
December 3, 1991

A woman in her mid-30s alleges she was sexually assaulted by a priest over a three-year period when she attended grade school in the mid-1960s.

The woman has filed a civil lawsuit against the priest and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, claiming personal injury and seeking an unspecified amount in damages. The lawsuit claims she was repeatedly assaulted at a parochial school operated by the diocese from 1963 to 1966. She was attending the first, second and third grades during those years.

The case is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing tomorrow in the Mishawaka Division of St. Joseph County Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges misconduct by the priest and claims the diocese should have known of the incidents but did nothing to protect the child.

The priest and the diocese have filed responses denying the allegations. They say the woman's claims are barred by a two-year statute of limitations on personal injuries.

George Filippello, a lawyer representing the woman, said the statute of limitations in this case should begin at May 1990, when her repressed memories of the attacks began resurfacing.

John C. Theisen, a Fort Wayne lawyer who represents the diocese, declined comment. David R. Holmes, a lawyer representing the priest, could not be reached for comment.

It's the second lawsuit in two months filed against the diocese in which sexual abuse by a priest has been alleged. In November, a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by an Allen County man seeking an unspecified amount in damages from former priest James Blume, the diocese and Bishop John M. D'Arcy. The man, who lives in Massachusetts, alleged in the lawsuit that Blume in 1982 began having sexual relations with him when he was 14, and those activities continued over a three-year period.

Blume, who now lives in Ohio, resigned from the priesthood in 1989.


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