2 Priests Again Face Sex Abuse Suits

By Tim Bryant
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 25, 1995

In hopes that a recent court ruling will help their cases, three people who allege that Catholic priests sexually abused them here have refiled their suits against the priests.

The cases were refiled last week in St. Louis Circuit Court, said Douglas Forsyth, the lawyer representing all three.

Both suits were initially filed in June 1994. They allege that the plaintiffs recalled the sexual abuse years after it took place. Forsyth said he dismissed the suits last fall because of a state appeals court ruling that said the three-year statute of limitations in cases of "recovered memory" began running when the victim reached majority age.

Bernard Huger, the lawyer defending the two priests and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, said Tuesday the defendants' dim view of the suits was unchanged.

"We don't feel any differently about them now," Huger said. "We are prepared to deal with the suits this year the same as we were before."

Forsyth said he had refiled the suits as a result of a Missouri Supreme Court ruling this summer.

In one suit, a St. Louis County man identified as "James Doe" claims he was sexually abused in the late 1960s by the Rev. James L. Gummersbach. The archdiocese put Gummersbach on administrative leave last year after learning of the allegations.

In the other suit, the Rev. James Beine, removed from the priesthood in 1977, was accused of sexually abusing two boys. The suit, which identified the plaintiffs as "R. Doe" and "T. Roe," alleged that Beine began abusing them in 1967.


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