|Delco Man Plans Priest-Sex Lawsuit
By Patti Mengers
March 15, 2011
One week after officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that 21 priests were being suspended while allegations that they sexually abused minors are reviewed, a Delaware County man is planning to file a lawsuit against the archdiocese in connection with abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a priest.
Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn.-based attorney who specializes in sexual-abuse litigation, said on Monday that he expects to file the civil complaint Wednesday in Philadelphia on behalf of a 49-year-old Delaware County man. He did not identify the plaintiff on Monday.
The man alleges he was abused as an adolescent by the Rev. John Kline while the priest was based at St. Francis Xavier parish and Roman Catholic High School, both in Philadelphia, said Anderson.
The attorney told the Daily Times that Kline is now deceased and his name did not appear in either of two Philadelphia grand jury reports investigating clerical sexual abuse.
Archdiocesan officials said they did not have additional information about Kline or his service available on Monday.
"The lawsuit will allege that archdiocese officials conspired to endanger the safety of the plaintiff when they actively concealed knowledge of Kline's previous offenses, lied to parishioners and created a sham sexual abuse victim assistance program for the archdiocese," a press release from Anderson's law firm stated.
Also named as attorneys in the case are Dan Monahan of Chester County and Marci Hamilton of New York.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a recent Philadelphia grand jury report that resulted in the arrest Feb. 10 of four men who were charged with sexually assaulting boys in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Their preliminary hearing that commenced Monday is set to resume March 25.
A week after the grand jury report was released archdiocesan officials announced that three priests named in the report were being put on administrative leave while they reviewed sexual abuse allegations against them, two of whom formerly served at Delaware County parishes.
Archdiocesan officials also hired Gina Maisto Smith, a former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted child sexual assault cases, to review the 37 cases of concern cited by the grand jury. Twenty-one more priests, at least six of whom have Delaware County ties, were put on administrative leave March 8.
The recent grand jury convened by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was the second one concerning clerical sex abuse.
A grand jury investigation launched by former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham in 2003 revealed in 2005 that 63 priests allegedly abused children as far back as the 1940s, 43 of whom had connections with Delaware County. None could be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired. The statute was expanded in 2006 to age 50 for victims.
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