Victim of Abuse by Priest Dies at 62
Douglas J. McClure Was Marine Corps Veteran

By Beth Miller
News Journal
April 24, 2009

Douglas J. McClure, who signed the final settlement papers Tuesday in a $1.5 million sexual abuse civil suit against the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, was found dead Thursday in his recreational vehicle at a campground on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, according to his attorney, Thomas Neuberger.

McClure, 62 of Wilmington, a retired Marine Corps sergeant and a Vietnam veteran, was among the first Delaware abuse victims to make his story public, recounting the abuse he suffered from the late Rev. Edward B. Carley during the 1950s at St. Ann's Catholic Church. He filed suit in 2006, months before lawmakers passed the 2007 Child Victim's Act that eliminated the civil statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.

"Getting this behind me is a bigger deal to me than coming home from Vietnam," he said when the settlement was announced April 8.

McClure, who grew up in the Forty Acres section of Wilmington, said he had suppressed memories of the abuse until reading a 2005 story in The News Journal about another St. Ann's student who had won a settlement and an apology from the diocese for Carley's "despicable actions."

The settlement was the largest disclosed since the 2007 law was passed. In addition to the money, McClure received a written apology from church officials.

"Doug was one of the nicest persons I've ever met," Neuberger said Thursday. "He had no bitterness in him because of what had happened to him. Instead, he overcame that by giving back to the community."

McClure was a four-letter athlete -- cross country, swimming, golf, and track -- at Wilmington High School. He joined the Marines in 1967 and served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971. After his return, he graduated from Delaware Technical & Community College.

For 35 years, he served the community -- volunteering at the Veterans Affairs Nursing Home on Kirkwood Highway and the Ronald McDonald House, working with Alcoholics Anonymous at many venues and staying active with the Marine Corps League.

McClure was preceded in death by his mother and stepfather, Natalie and Paul T. McHugh, and by his brothers, Kevin and Richard Griest.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Nancy, his son Douglas J. McClure Jr., and stepson Nicholas Lamanna. Other survivors include his brothers Martin McHugh, Mark McHugh, Neil McHugh, sisters Joanne McHugh Brooks and Dorothy McHugh, and four grandchildren, Christina, Alissa, Nicholas and Nicole.

Service arrangements were incomplete Thursday.

Contact Beth Miller at 324-2784 or


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.