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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