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  Woman Sues Indianapoli Archdiocese
Jeffersonville Priest Accused of Abuse in '50s

By Yetter Deborah
The Courier-Journal [Louisville, KY]
September 7, 2002

An Indiana woman has filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, alleging she was sexually abused by a priest for eight years while she was a student at St. Augustine Catholic Elementary School in Jeffersonville.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in Clark Circuit Court by a woman using the pseudonym Jane Doe, alleges she was abused by the Rev. Albert Deery in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Deery died in 1972.

It is the second such lawsuit to be filed against the Indianapolis Archdiocese; 184 lawsuits have been filed since April against the Louisville Archdiocese alleging sexual abuse by priests and others connected with the church.

Susan Borcherts, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Archdiocese, said yesterday church officials hadn't seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment.

The lawsuit was filed by lawyers Lonnie T. Cooper and Karl Truman of Jeffersonville.

Cooper said yesterday he asked the court's permission to use a pseudonym for his client, a woman in her early 50s, because she has been emotionally devastated by the abuse and didn't want to face the trauma of going public.

"She is a a lady who has suffered immensely," Cooper said. "She'll never get over this."

Cooper also said the plaintiff remains a "devout Catholic" and for that reason, wanted to remain anonymous.

The lawsuit doesn't specify the nature of the alleged abuse, but Cooper said it ranged from fondling to intercourse. Cooper said his client alleges Deery would summon her from class or from recess for "instruction" and would sexually abuse her.

The lawsuit also alleges that the woman attempted to notify church authorities several times of the alleged abuse, starting when she was in the first grade, but it was never acknowledged until this year.

The woman attempted to report it the first time to the nuns who were her first-grade teachers, but they rebuked her for making false allegations, the lawsuit said.

In 1976, while attending a Louisville church, according to the lawsuit, she reported the alleged abuse to a priest, the Rev. Louis Miller, who himself was indicted this year on charges he sexually abused 23 children during his various assignments and has been named as a perpetrator in 70 lawsuits against the Louisville Archdiocese.

Miller has pleaded innocent to the criminal charges; he and his lawyer have declined further comment.

The lawsuit alleges Miller advised her not to pursue the matter.

It alleges that the woman again brought it up in a group counseling session in Louisville in 1982 and that afterward she was visited by a Catholic clergyman who persuaded her not to make the allegations public and further advised her that she was forgiven of her sins for the childhood sexual abuse.

The lawsuit says the woman again reported the alleged abuse to church officials after the nation's bishops in June adopted tougher policies dealing with sexual abuse by priests, and she was referred to counseling.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Contact: dyetter@courier-journal.com

 
 

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