|Former Delco Priest Faces Lawsuit over Alleged Abuse
By Patti Mengers
September 29, 2009
A Catholic priest who formerly served at two Delaware County parishes and at a Delaware County high school has been accused of sexually abusing a Philadelphia high school student more than 30 years ago in a lawsuit filed in the state of Delaware.
The Rev. Msgr. Michael Flood was named as the alleged abuser in a lawsuit served to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia last Thursday, according to a press release issued by archdiocesan officials. The plaintiff is not named in the lawsuit. Flood, who denies the allegations, is currently pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Glenside, Montgomery County.
The 71-year-old priest formerly served at the old St. Michael’s Church in Chester and at St. Madeline’s Church in Ridley Park among other parishes. He was formerly on staff at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Marple. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims he was sexually abused by Flood while he was a student at the old St. John Neumann High School in Philadelphia in the late 1970s.
Archdiocesan officials said they have not previously received allegations against Flood and are unable to investigate the current allegations since they do not know the identity of the accuser. They are offering assistance to the plaintiff and other potential victims via their help line at 1-888-800-8780 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In view of these circumstances, Msgr. Flood will continue in his position as pastor while the civil suit proceeds. He is already voluntarily refraining from unsupervised ministry to young people,” said archdiocesan officials in the press release.
David Clohessy of St. Louis, Mo., national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) described the decision as “extraordinarily reckless” and called for Flood’s immediate suspension until more information becomes available.
“The notion that an accused child molester will voluntarily stay away from kids is ludicrous,” Clohessy said.
Clohessy said this case, like other recent ones, not only contradicts every claim by Catholic officials that they allegedly put children’s safety first, it clearly shows that the Catholic hierarchy is backsliding dramatically from its 2002 pledges of reform.
“Every day that Flood is in ministry is a day when he can molest kids, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis and perhaps even make plans to flee the country,” Clohessy said. “We pray that Cardinal Rigali will show common sense and simple decency and suspend this alleged predator immediately.”
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