Priest Sues 2 Accusing Him of Molestation
By Stephanie Gehring
November 29, 2006
A Burbank priest filed a defamation lawsuit Tuesday against the two brothers who accused him of molesting them more than 20 years ago.
The Rev. Robert Stepek, former pastor of St. Albert the Great Catholic Church is asking for more than $1 million in punitive damages from the brothers, claiming they falsely accused him of criminal wrongdoing, sexual misconduct and deviant behavior out of revenge.
Pastor claims retaliation
Stepek said he refused to write a letter of recommendation for one brother who wanted to attend a graduate seminary school, saying the boy "had character deficiencies" that made him unsuitable for the priesthood.
He also claims the brothers are retaliating for a 2005 incident in which Stepek refused to pay for incomplete and unsatisfactory construction work at St. Albert. The brothers have a financial stake in a company that did work at the church, according to court papers.
A review board determined "there was reasonable cause to suspect that sexual abuse of minors occurred." Stepek remains on leave while the Vatican reviews the case.
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