Archdiocese Faces New Abuse Suit
By Mark Hansel
Cincinnati Post [Cincinnati OH]
July 19, 2005
A man whose claims of childhood abuse led to the indictment of a local priest is seeking unspecified damages in a civil suit filed against his alleged abuser and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Ken Lawson, one of the man's attorneys, said his client was abused several times between December 1995, when he was 11 years old, and August 1997.
Thursday a Hamilton County grand jury indicted Rev. Raymond Larger on six counts of child abuse stemming from the allegations.
Lawson, who said the boy was sodomized and forced to perform oral sex, was told that failure to comply was a sin because the priest was a messenger of God. He said the boy was further victimized because his mother was dying of cancer at the time and he was very vulnerable.
The alleged abuse occurred when Larger was a priest and pastor at St. James Parish in White Oak and the man, identified only as John Doe, was an altar boy.
The man was initially a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of victims of alleged abuse by priests and other employees in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
In 2003, then-Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen reached a $3 million agreement with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to compensate alleged victims. A three-person tribunal formed to oversee distribution of the claim resolution fund determined, however, that the man was not entitled to any compensation.
"This young man didn't want to do this," said Lawson. "He wanted to get on with his life."
Lawson said it was claims by Larger and a member of the tribunal accusing his client of lying about what happened to him that compelled his client to take action.
"We would not have filed this suit had we not heard the comments we've been hearing for the last several days about how much of a liar this kid who has suffered so much has been," said Lawson.
"For the church to attack this young man is unconscionable."
Lawson said investigators from the office of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters approached him seeking information from his client about the abuse claims. Lawson contacted the man, and he agreed to assist in the investigation.
In the lawsuit Lawson states his client took, and passed, a polygraph test administered by an examiner used frequently by law enforcement officials throughout Ohio. He questions how the man, whose allegations of abuse are the basis for criminal charges against Larger, could be denied compensation by the tribunal.
Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, said the fact that the man did not receive any compensation is significant.
"A tribunal of two judges and a respected attorney reached the conclusion that this man was not entitled to anything," said Andriacco. "There is a pretty low threshold for awarding money, and all but a small number got awards so there is something to be said for that."
Andriacco, who emphasized that he had not yet seen the lawsuit, said he thinks the man may have previously forfeited his right to file a suit.
"The Archdiocese believes compensation in this case is precluded because he gave up that right when he chose to participate in the victim's assistance fund," said Andriacco.
Larger has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
He was also placed on leave in August 2003 after being convicted of public indecency in Dayton. He was reinstated in May 2004.
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