High School Settles Lawsuit over Molestation by Priest

Associated Press State & Local Wire
December 5, 2001

HAYS, Kan. (AP) - A Hays high school has paid $30,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from the molestation of a male student by a Catholic priest.

Thomas More Prep-Marian President Jean Ross said Monday that the lawsuit was resolved when representatives of the school and the Salina Catholic Diocese met in October with the former student and his family in Texas.

The Rev. Ron S. Gilardi, 54, a Capuchin priest who taught at TMP-Marian from 1988 to 1996, pleaded guilty in May in Ellis County District Court to three counts of indecent liberties with a child. He was sentenced in July to 32 months in a treatment facility, to be followed by five years probation.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Wichita, named the school and the Capuchin Province of Mid-America as defendants.

Ross said a confidentiality agreement prevented her from revealing the terms of the settlement. But she said a story in the TMP-Marian student newspaper that said the school paid $30,000 to settle with the lawsuit was accurate.

Ross said the school's insurance company and the Salina diocese also settled, but she didn't know how much money they paid.

In the lawsuit, the family claimed damages of more than $75,000 for negligence in not performing background checks and discovering Gilardi's "pedophilic propensities" before assigning him to teach at the school. The suit also alleged that the school and Capuchin order did not adequately supervise Gilardi and other clerics at the school.


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