Lexingtonian Alleges Priest Abused Him
Plaintiff Says He Was Altar Boy at Cathedral of Christ the King

By Art Jester
Lexington Herald Leader (Kentucky)
June 4, 2002

A Lexington man filed a lawsuit yesterday alleging that he was sexually abused in 1983 by a priest at the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Will L. McGinnis III, 33, filed the lawsuit on his own behalf in Fayette Circuit Court.

McGinnis accuses the Rev. Bill Fedders of sexually abusing him three times over a period that included his eighth-grade year and the summer before the ninth grade.

The lawsuit alleges the three incidents occurred in Fedders' bedroom in the rectory, the priests' residence at Christ the King. The allegations include fondling and providing pornographic magazines for sexual arousal.

In an interview yesterday, McGinnis said that at the time he was a 14-year-old altar boy at the cathedral.

The lawsuit names the Catholic dioceses of Covington and Lexington as defendants. McGinnis says the dioceses failed to report the alleged abuse to law enforcement authorities and did not properly supervise priests under their control. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Two church spokesmen, Tom Shaughnessy of Lexington and Tim Fitzgerald of Covington, said the dioceses had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment.

Lexington churches were part of the Covington diocese until the Lexington diocese was created in 1988.

Fedders could not be reached for comment. He is pastor at Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church in Morehead, which also serves as the Newman Center for Catholic students at Morehead State University.

McGinnis, a real estate broker, is seeking a license to operate a taxi business in Lexington. He ran unsuccessful campaigns for mayor in 1998 and as a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2000.

McGinnis also worked as a stripper for a "strip-o-gram" service from 1992-2000, he said.

This is the second recent sex-abuse lawsuit against the Lexington and Covington dioceses. On May 30, Lexington lawyer Robert Treadway filed a $50 million class-action lawsuit on behalf of four unnamed men and one unnamed woman. They allege they were sexually abused by priests under the two dioceses' control.

Two lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Louisville accuse Lexington Bishop J. Kendrick Williams of sex abuse in in 1969 and 1981, when he was a priest.


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