New Suit Is Filed against Archdiocese

By Gregory A. Hall
The Courier-Journal [Louisville KY]
April 27, 2002

A woman filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Louisville yesterday, claiming that a priest sexually abused her almost 30 years ago.

Janet Goodner claims that Bruce Ewing, then a priest at St. Vincent DePaul Church, abused her beginning in 1974 when she was about 14. That conduct continued for at least three years, the complaint says.

Ewing, who left the priesthood in 1977 and is now an aide to Alderman Steve Magre, denied the accusation yesterday in a telephone interview.

"I know the family quite well" and Goodner never said anything to him about the allegations, Ewing said. He declined to comment further.

The lawsuit claims that the archdiocese knew or should have known that children at the parish were at risk of abuse. The archdiocese had a duty to report such information to law enforcement, Goodner's complaint says, and in failing to do so, the archdiocese concealed the behavior. That allows the lawsuit to be filed after the normal one-year statute of limitations, the lawsuit claims.

Archdiocesan officials do not comment about pending lawsuits, said Cecelia Price, a spokeswoman.

Jeff Derouen, a spokesman for Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney David Stengel, said that the office, which prosecutes felony crimes, is reviewing all allegations of priest abuse brought to its attention. However, the office is "not familiar with this allegation," he said.

Magre referred questions to Thomas McAdam, an attorney for the Board of Aldermen. McAdam said he and the city's human resources director will review the available evidence on Monday and make a recommendation to Magre.

Ewing "is a person above reproach, as far as I'm concerned ... he swears it's not true and I believe him," McAdam said.

Goodner's lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Attempts to reach Goodner's attorney, Kevin George, yesterday afternoon were unsuccessful.

According to a 1989 newspaper profile of Ewing, he was ordained in 1974 and served at St. Vincent DePaul until 1977. Price confirmed that Ewing was assigned to St. Vincent and that he left the priesthood in 1977.

Ewing is a former tavern owner, police chaplain and mechanic for the city's Department of Public Works. He also served as an ombudsman to help residents of neighborhoods who were being moved because of expansion at Standiford Field, which is now Louisville International Airport.

The text of Goodner's complaint mirrors much of four other lawsuits filed recently against the archdiocese regarding alleged sexual abuse.

Three were filed over allegations of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s by the Rev. Louis E. Miller, who has retired, and one concerns allegations against Joseph B. Greene III while he was a teacher at Ascension school in the 1970s.

Miller and Ewing have not been charged. Greene has been charged in a criminal case.

Source: The Courier-Journal


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