Civil suit filed against Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin
By Sarah Navoy
March 14, 2016
AUSTIN, Texas — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin is facing a lawsuit alleging it knew of sexual abuse going on in the early seventies.
The man who filed the civil suit, referred to as John Doe 120, said he was an altar boy at the time of his abuse.
Doe claims he was sexually assaulted for about 5 years by the now deceased Reverend Milton Eggerling. According to court documents, Eggerling preached at St. Louis Church and School in the 1970's.
According to Doe's attorney Tahira Merritt, Eggerling acted as a mentor to him, took him on trips, and showed him special treatment to lure him in. The lawsuit also alleges the priest gave the boy alcohol.
According to Merritt, teachers, nuns, and priests knew or should have known that Eggerling had an inappropriate relationship with the boy.
"This is a lifelong devastating injury and it's affected his whole life," said Merritt.
Doe is seeking more than $1 million in damages. However, Merritt said the lawsuit is more about holding the diocese accountable and opening the door for more victims to come forward.
"I firmly believe, given my experience, that there are other victims out there," said Merritt.
The Austin Diocese is investigating the allegations.
Diocese of Austin statement:
The petitioner alleges that abuse occurred more than 40 years ago by Father Milton Eggerling who died in 2008 at the age of 87. Father Eggerling was not a priest of the Diocese of Austin. He came to Austin in 1973 from another diocese and worked for the state of Texas. He left Austin in 1979. An investigation into the allegations is pending and the diocese is not able to comment further at this time.
The Diocese of Austin remains committed to its safe environment program for the protection of children and young people. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez asks for prayers for those involved in these allegations.
According to 'bishopaccountability.org' there have been at least six other allegations of sexual abuse within the Austin diocese.