Court Halts Suit against Diocese

By Michael Zeigler
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
February 2, 2002

An appellate court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester by a teenager who was molested by a priest.

In a unanimous decision, a four-judge panel of the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court ruled that the diocese, Bishop Matthew H. Clark and two churches lacked notice that the Rev. William D. Lum had a propensity to molest young boys.

The decision overturned a previous ruling by a Supreme Court justice in Syracuse.

The appellate court, however, refused to dismiss the lawsuit against Lum, ruling that the victim, who now is 25, filed the suit within a time period required by law.

Lum, 58, pleaded guilty in 1997 to third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor.

He admitted that in 1992 he touched the genitals of the victim, who then was 16, in the rectory of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Greece.

Lum was granted a conditional discharge and ordered to stay away from the victim.

He no longer is a parish priest but lives in the rectory of a Rochester church and splits his time between Rochester and Ottawa, Ontario, where he is studying for a graduate degree.


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