Lawsuits in Sex-Abuse Case by Priests Withdrawn
Recent Ohio Supreme Court Ruling That Limits Filing Age of Victim Means Civil Lawsuits Will Not Be Heard in Court
By Ben Sutherly
Dayton Daily News [Ohio]
June 23, 2006
Civil lawsuits seeking compensation for alleged child abuse by Catholic priests decades ago in the Dayton area are being withdrawn following a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling that such suits must be filed before the victim turns 20.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-2 ruling May 31, reversed a state appeals court ruling that had revived a case involving a former parishioner of St. Michael Church in Fort Loramie.
The alleged victim claimed the Rev. Thomas Hopp molested him from 1980 to 1983 between the ages of 12 and 15.
The lawsuit was filed in Shelby County in March 2004, when the alleged victim was 36.
Konrad Kircher, a Mason attorney who has represented dozens of clients in southwest Ohio who claimed priests abused them, said he is seeking dismissal of four cases in local county courts:
• A 2004 Montgomery County case alleging the Rev. Daniel Pater abused two girls in the 1980s in the St. Charles Borromeo parish of Kettering.
• A 2003 Montgomery County case alleging the Rev. David Kelley abused three boys in the mid-1980s at St. Christopher Church in Vandalia.
• A 2004 Darke County case also alleging Hopp abused a boy when the boy was 12 to 14 at St. Denis Catholic Church in Versailles in the early 1980s.
• A 2004 Greene County case alleging the Rev. Keith Albrecht abused a boy when he was 14 to 17 at St. Luke Church in Beavercreek between 1977 and 1981.
Kircher said his clients are "very disappointed they won't have their day in court."
Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Cincinnati Archdiocese, which was accused in several lawsuits of failing to report abuse to police and alert potential victims, said the archdiocese is continuing to reach out to victims of priest abuse.
"What the Supreme Court was clearly saying is there was no cover-up," Andriacco said.
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