Baltimore Co. Man Sues Archdiocese, Alleges Molestation by Priest

By Brent Jones
Baltimore Sun
June 26, 2009,0,1810150.story

A Baltimore County man in his 40s is suing the Archdiocese of Baltimore for an undisclosed amount of money, alleging negligence by the Roman Catholic Church after what he claims were years of sexual molestation by one of its priests.

The lawsuit, filed in Delaware, alleges that Rev. Michael L. Barnes, a co-defendant in the suit, abused the plaintiff while he was a minor at the St. Clare School in the 700 block of Myrth Ave. in Essex. The school and St. Clare Roman Catholic Church are also co-defendants in the case. Court papers say the church was aware of Barnes' history, which included several other molestation claims.

The abuse began in 1977, when the victim was 12 years old, and lasted for five years, according to the lawsuit. Court papers say much of the molestation occurred in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Fenwick Island, Del.

Barnes provided alcohol and pornography to the boy, engaged in mutual masturbation and, at other times, performed oral sex on the alleged victim, according to court papers.

A church spokesman said the archdiocese contacted the alleged victim in 2002 after a review of its internal files, but the man was adamant that he had not been abused. The church received a letter six years ago from the plaintiff's attorney claiming the man had been molested.

Spokesman Sean Caine said the archdiocese offered to pay for counseling and mediate with a judge on a settlement, but the plaintiff refused.

"The victim wants restitution for the things that have happened in his life. He was a good student prior to being abused," said David Lorenz, a spokesman for The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. SNAP held a press conference Friday announcing the lawsuit.

"His life kind of spiraled down after that. At this point, his life has made somewhat of a recovery," Lorenz said.

Attempts to reach Barnes were unsuccessful Friday.



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