Ex-Altar Boy Sues Diocese, Alleging Sex Abuse in '60s

By Adam Borowitz
Tucson Citizen
September 4, 2002

The Catholic Diocese of Tucson is being sued by a former altar boy who says he was sexually abused by an Arizona priest in the 1960s.

The suit also alleges that the Rev. Robert A. Gluch, who died in 1993, went on to sexually abuse other boys as church officials shuffled him from church to church to hide his alleged molesting of young boys.

The suit is being brought by a man in his 40s who says the events happened between 1965 and 1967 at St. Gregory's Catholic Church in Phoenix.

The Diocese of Tucson is being sued because until the formation of the Diocese of Phoenix in 1969, St. Gregory's fell under the Tucson diocese's jurisdiction.

The man, who was 13 at the time of the incidents, alleges he was sexually abused by Gluch, who supervised St. Gregory's altar boys as an associate pastor, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Pima County Superior Court.

The suit says the molestations typically occurred after Mass in St. Gregory's or in Gluch's bedroom in the church rectory.

The suite alleges Gluch was also a close friend of the plaintiff's parents, ate meals in their home, played piano there or interacted with the other children.

Gluch was removed from St. Gregory's in 1968 because of improper sexual behavior exhibited toward at least one other boy, the suit claims.

He was then moved to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Miami, Ariz.

The suit says Gluch was transferred from Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament to Sacred Heart Church in Clifton, Ariz., and then from parish to parish to hide alleged sexual assaults from the public.

Fred Allison, a spokesman for the diocese, said church officials were contacted by the plaintiff on June 6 seeking a resolution through mediation. He said the plaintiff asked for $4 million, an apology and counseling. The firm representing the plaintiff could not be reached late yesterday.


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