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  6 More Lawsuits Allege Sex Abuse
Two of Yesterday's Filings against the Archdiocese Accuse Men Not Named in Any of Several Dozen Previous Actions

By Smith Peter
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
May 10, 2002

Six more lawsuits were filed yesterday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, bringing the total pending in Jefferson Circuit Court to 38.

All the lawsuits, filed by adults, allege sexual abuse by a priest or other employee of the archdiocese. They also contend that the archdiocese knew or should have known of the alleged abuse and concealed the conduct, not reporting it to civil authorities.

Two of the filings name men not accused in the previous lawsuits:

— Todd K. Bolus alleges he was abused by James Griffith in the 1970s when Griffith served as a deacon and Boy Scout leader at St. Raphael Church and School. The lawsuit says the abuse occurred when Bolus was 11 and attending Boy Scout camps in about 1973.

Griffith pleaded guilty in 1988 to a charge of indecent and immoral practices and a charge of sexual abuse and was sentenced to five years' supervised probation.

Griffith, a member of the Passionist religious order, has long since left Louisville. He did not reply to a telephone message left at the Passionist religious house in Chicago where he now lives.

— Berenda (Werner) Burns alleges she was abused by the Rev. James Hagan at St. Leo the Great in 1956, when Burns was about 11. Hagan left the priesthood in 1973, according to the archdiocese. Hagan could not be located yesterday.

The other lawsuits:

— Allege the Rev. Louis E. Miller abused two boys, James Gregory Klemenz and Steve Donlon, at St. Aloysius in Pewee Valley in the mid- to late 1970s; and another boy, Bernard K. Queenan, at Holy Spirit in Louisville in the mid- to late 1950s. Miller, who has been named in numerous lawsuits, retired earlier this year and has denied accusations in earlier lawsuits.

— Accuse the late Rev. Arthur L. Wood of abusing a 13-year-old boy, Kenneth R. Bledsoe, at St. Elizabeth of Hungary in about 1964. Wood has been named in four previous lawsuits.

Lawsuits give only one side of a case. Archdiocesan spokeswoman Cecelia Price said she cannot comment on pending litigation.

Meanwhile, a Louisville man whose lawsuit led to the resignation of a parish priest this week criticized Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly yesterday for allowing the priest to continue working with children.

Gregory C. Hall, 34, of Louisville sued the archdiocese last week, alleging that he was molested by the Rev. Thomas Creagh 20 years ago in the rectory of St. Albert the Great Church.

Creagh resigned as pastor of Holy Family Church early this week after many parishioners and parents of students at the school questioned why they weren't informed of the past allegation.

On Wednesday, another man sued the archdiocese, alleging that Creagh molested him in the St. Albert rectory several months after Hall alleges Creagh assaulted him.

Hall criticized Kelly for not preventing Creagh from working with children. "For him to put him in a situation around children two or three more times since then, that's absolutely insane."

The archdiocese has said it knew of Hall's allegation in 1983 and reached a settlement with his family. It also said it had no record of any other allegation before or since.

But Kelly said in a statement that he made no promises about Creagh's future assignments, contrary to a claim in Hall's lawsuit that church officials had pledged to keep Creagh away from children.

No criminal charges have been filed against Creagh. Hall, who does contract work in the apparel industry, said he has spoken to the commonwealth's attorney's office.

Hall, who was 14 at the time of the alleged abuse, said he has not seen the legal agreement but recalls a meeting of family and church lawyers where he stood up screaming, "I do not want this man around children anymore."

Hall said he still has a strong faith in God, and while he is not an active Catholic, he did have his daughter baptized - at St. Albert the Great. He plans to enroll her in a parochial school because he believes such schools offer a good foundation for children.

Gregory C. Hall criticized Archbishop Thomas Kelly for letting a priest Hall accused of molestation keep working with children.

 
 

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