Woman Charges Priest with Sex Exploitation

By Pat Schneider
Capital Times (Madison, WI.)
May 29, 1993

A Madison woman is suing a Catholic priest she accuses of sexually exploiting her.

The 27-year-old woman, identified in a lawsuit filed Friday in Dane County Circuit Court as L.L.N., claims that Rev. J. Gibbs Clauder entered into a sexual relationship with her while acting as her counselor.

Clauder was working as a chaplain at Meriter Hospital in November 1988 when the woman was admitted for complications of pregnancy.

He met with her in his pastoral capacity and began counseling her on personal, religious and marital issues, L.L.N. said.

Clauder counseled the woman again when she was hospitalized the following month and suffered a miscarriage, the second within a year, she said in her lawsuit.

That counseling relationship continued through June 1991, although Clauder began to have sexual relations with L.L.N. in June 1990, she said.

During that time, Clauder was living at the parish house of St. Bernard Catholic Church, 2450 Atwood Ave., and was employed by the Catholic Diocese of Madison.

L.L.N. was married and working at St. Bernard's at the start of her relationship with Clauder.

As soon as she recognized that she was being harmed by the sexual relationship and had the emotional strength to do so, L.L.N. stopped all contact with Clauder, she said.

She accuses Clauder of sexual exploitation by a therapist, breach of fiduciary duty as a pastor, pastoral malpractice and infliction of emotional harm.

She said she has suffered emotional, physical and spiritual injuries from her relationship with Clauder and is seeking unspecified damages.

Also named in the lawsuit is the diocese, which L.L.N. claims was negligent in not properly screening Clauder or adequately supervising him.


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