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More Abuse Claims Target Archdiocese
2 of 11 Lawsuits Allege Misconduct by Priest Not Named in Earlier Cases

By Gregory Hall
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
June 15, 2002

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: One survivor's name has been redacted from this page at the survivor's request.]

Eleven more lawsuits were filed yesterday against the Archdiocese of Louisville, including two alleging abuse by a priest not named in previous claims.

The new suits bring the total number of sexual-abuse claims filed against the Roman Catholic archdiocese in Jefferson Circuit Court since mid-April to 130.

In two separate suits, Bruce E. Ottersbach, now 51, and David T. Boone, now 52, accuse the late Rev. Daniel Emerine of sexually abusing them when they were minors. Both lawsuits say that each was abused on several occasions between 1960 and 1964, when Emerine was assigned to St. Paul Church on Dixie Highway.

Both were attending school at St. Paul and were altar boys at the church, said their attorney, William McMurry, who represents both of those plaintiffs and all but one of the other plaintiffs who filed suit yesterday.

The church, while owned by the archdiocese, is operated by a Franciscan order that maintains its own personnel records for its priests, Cecelia Price, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said yesterday.

Emerine, a Conventual Franciscan priest, was ordained in 1941 and died in 1986, said the Rev. Peter Damian, the minister provincial at the Mount St. Francis headquarters in Southern Indiana, which serves most of the Midwest.

Beginning in 1951, Emerine spent 15 years at St. Paul, where he served as an associate pastor and pastor, Damian said. Damian also said that he is unaware of any other allegations involving Emerine.

Like previous suits filed against the archdiocese, those filed yesterday did not name as defendants any of the more than 15 current, former, retired or dead priests accused of abuse.

The bulk of the suits that have been filed contain allegations of sexual abuse of a child by a priest.

But one of yesterday's suits was filed by an adult accusing Monsignor Robert Bowling, now a pastor in Reno, Nev., of abusing her at his parish there.

Christine Filippis Clark alleges in her suit that she was considering conversion to Catholicism around 1982 and was referred to St. Therese of the Little Flower, where Bowling was assigned.

The lawsuit says that during talks Clark had with Bowling, he would direct the conversation to specific details of sexual acts between Clark and her husband. During each of the talks, the lawsuit said, Bowling would hug her and kiss her on the lips in an unwelcomed way.

Although Bowling transferred from the Louisville archdiocese to Reno in the late 1960s, Clark's lawsuit targets the Louisville archdiocese, McMurry said, because of other suits filed involving Bowling's time in Louisville.

McMurry said that the Louisville archdiocese should have foreseen "that failing to discipline Bowling" while he was here could lead to other victims in the future.

Price, the archdiocese spokeswoman, said archdiocesan officials are aware of no allegations involving Bowling up to 1969, when he moved to Reno. He officially became a priest of the Reno diocese in 1972.

Only recently has the archdiocese been made aware of allegations against Bowling, she said.

An attempt to contact Bowling's Louisville attorney, Charles Ricketts, yesterday afternoon at his office was unsuccessful. Bowling has denied allegations contained in three previously filed lawsuits.

Another lawsuit - the fifth - involving Bowling was filed yesterday by Patricia Ann (Schneider) Wheeler, now 54, who says that around 1956-57, when she was a student at St. Rita School, Bowling took her home from the school one day when she became sick. While riding in the car, the lawsuit says, he fondled her.

Four of the other lawsuits filed yesterday contain allegations of abuse by the Rev. Louis E. Miller, who retired earlier this year. An attempt to reach him by phone yesterday at the apartment building where he lives was unsuccessful. He has denied allegations made in previous suits.

Kenneth L. Schweitzer, now 54, alleges that in the early 1960s, when he served as an altar boy at Holy Spirit Church, Miller molested him.

Thomas Carson Torpey, now 53, also alleges that Miller molested him when he was an altar boy at Holy Spirit.

Timothy L. Crawford, now 34, alleges that between 1978 and 1980, when he was an altar boy at St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Miller sexually abused him.

[Name redacted], now 52, alleges that when he was an altar boy at Holy Spirit, Miller sexually abused him. McMurry previously attempted to add [Name redacted] as a second plaintiff in one of the earlier cases. The allegation in [Name redacted]'s own suit is the same as when McMurry attempted to add him to the previous lawsuit.

One case filed yesterday involves Brother Francis Dominic, who also was named in two lawsuits filed last week.

Joseph R. Lopez, now 38, alleges that around 1973 and 1974 Dominic molested him. Dominic was assigned to Our Lady of Consolation at the time, the lawsuit states.

Dominic was a member of the order of Conventual Franciscans from 1969 to 1980, a spokesman said last week. Dominic was sent to a retreat center in Minnesota in the mid-1970s and served in the order's Chicago province from 1978 to 1989, when he left the order.

In another suit filed yesterday, Paul A. Jackson alleges that between 1961 and 1964, when he was a child attending St. Elizabeth of Hungary School, the late Rev. Arthur L. Wood molested him. The lawsuit also says that Wood abused Jackson during a hotel stay on a 1966 trip with boys to Covington, Ky..

In another suit filed yesterday, Kyle A. Burden, now 32, says that in summer 1982, when he attended St. Rita School, the Rev. Daniel C. Clark sexually abused him. Burden is represented by attorney Wallace Rogers.

An attempt to reach Clark, who has been removed from public ministry, by phone yesterday at the monastery where he lives was unsuccessful. He pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and sodomy in 1988.

Price said the archdiocese does not comment on pending lawsuits.

 
 

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