Man Sues, Alleges Sexual Abuse by Priest
By Ulysses Torassa
Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
April 30, 1994
A local man sued the Cleveland Catholic Diocese and a priest yesterday, saying the priest sexually abused him when he was a teen-ager in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The man filed the lawsuit using a pseudonym. His lawyer, Howard Schulman, said the man was extremely concerned about his privacy and did not want to divulge his age or any other personal details. He is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Edward F. Rupp of being an alcoholic who could not control his sexual urges toward the teen. The suit also claims the diocese knew about Rupp's alcoholism and knew that he committed "sexual improprieties" with other members of his parish while he was drunk.
Santiago Feliciano, a lawyer for the diocese, acknowledged that the diocese was aware of Rupp's alcoholism and that he had received treatment for it. But he said the diocese did not know until the man came forward that Rupp was accused of sexual misconduct.
He said Rupp was placed on leave after the man came forward in December, and that diocese officials followed all their procedures in dealing with the situation. The diocese sent Rupp for psychiatric counseling and evaluation, and launched an investigation of the allegations.
Rupp, who was formerly assigned to St. Vincent DePaul Church in Cleveland, resigned from the church in March, telling diocese officials he wanted to save the parish from further turmoil over the accusation, and to have time to plan his future ministry. Rupp did not leave the priesthood, diocese officials said at the time.
Rupp could not be reached for comment yesterday. Feliciano said he did not know where Rupp lives now.
Schulman said his client always remembered the abuse, but tried to push it out of his mind for the past 20 years. He said the man decided to come forward because the memories were beginning to interfere with his ability to function day to day.
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