Molestation Lawsuit against Priest, Religious Order Can Proceed

Fox Carolina [Delaware]
December 7, 2006

Dover, Del. A New Castle County judge has ruled that a Delaware man who claims he was repeatedly molested by a Roman Catholic priest as a child can proceed with a lawsuit against his alleged abuser and other church officials.

Superior Court Judge Calvin Scott did, however, dismiss Bishop Michael Saltarelli of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington as a defendant in a 2004 lawsuit filed by Eric Eden.

Scott said genuine issues of fact exist regarding personal injury and breach of contract claims by Eden, who claims he was molested hundreds of times by the Reverend James O'Neill.

O'Neill was relieved of his duties as pastor of a church in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2003 after officials learned of allegations of "inappropriate behavior."

Eden claims that O'Neill, a member of the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales, sexually abused him over a nine-year period beginning in 1976, when he was eight years old.

Scott ruled that the statute of limitations prevents Eden from suing for personal injury involving an alleged molestation incident in 1985.


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