'Emotional Distress' Cited in Diocese Suit
Albany Inmate Seeks $500m from Church after 1997 Abuse Settlement

By Andrew Tilghman
Times Union (Albany, NY)
August 16, 2002

A man who was abused by a priest as a child and received a confidential settlement payment from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in 1997 has filed a $500 million lawsuit against the diocese.

Edward Oathout, 41, is serving a 5- to 15-year sentence at Attica prison after his 1997 conviction for sexually abusing two young girls, said his former attorney, Gerald Orseck.

Oathout, who is from Sullivan County, filed the suit June 26 in state Supreme Court in Albany against the Rev. David Bentley, the Albany Diocese and others for "intentional infliction of emotional distress." He did not make specific allegations.

Oathout and his brother, Thomas Oathout of Watervliet, settled individual cases with the church in 1997, after they said Bentley abused them in the 1970s when they lived at the Albany Home for Children.

Edward Oathout stated he has no money, but Supreme Court Justice Joseph C. Teresi refused to waive court fees, saying Oathout gave no "date, facts or specifics" to let the judge determine whether the case has merit.

The Rev. Kenneth Doyle, chancellor for the Albany Diocese, said the suit was without merit. He said he was unaware of any other lawsuits filed against the church this year involving sexual abuse by priests.

The Albany Diocese has confirmed allegations of sexual abuse against 11 priests over the past 25 years. The church paid out more than $2.3 million in confidential settlements to a total of 11 victims of sexual abuse by priests.


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