More Ask to Join Church Suit

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer [Burlington KY]
December 25, 2003

BURLINGTON - Seven more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused by priests in the Covington Diocese since the 1950s.

The people, who have not been identified, have asked to be added to a class-action suit against the diocese after an original plaintiff settled and made statements that he believed the class action was not the best way to handle the accusations.

"By doubling the original number of class representatives, plaintiffs wish to further demonstrate the widespread long-term, continuous and very serious abuse of boys and girls by defendant's agents, which is deserving of class treatment," attorneys Stan Chesley and Bob Steinberg wrote in their latest motion, filed Monday in Boone Circuit Court.

This is the first significant court document filed in the case since Senior Judge John Potter of Louisville was appointed Friday to take over the case. Boone Circuit Judge Jay Bamberger, 61, recused himself earlier this month after announcing his retirement.

The proposed amended suit contains a number of new accusations. However, several of the priests' names in the new claim have been publicly identified in the past. All have been suspended from the priesthood or are no longer with the diocese.

One of the accusations is that a priest who investigated allegations of sexual abuse in the diocese is himself suspended from the priesthood for molesting young boys.

One of the alleged victims lives in Ohio, while another is described as a Northern Kentucky attorney.

Chesley said he believes the number of men and women eligible to join the class is greater than 150. He said they were abused by more than 21 priests.

The diocese has paid more than $6 million in the last three months to 32 people in out-of-court settlements.

The diocese has vigorously fought the class-action certification, and victims who have settled with the church have praised Bishop Roger J. Foys as willing to meet with them.


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