Five Add Names to Suit Alleging Abuse by Priest

By Deborah Yetter
The Courier-Journal [Louisville, KY]
October 17, 2002

Five more people have sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, alleging that they were sexually abused as children by the late Rev. Albert Deering at St. Augustine parish in Jeffersonville.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in Clark Circuit Court, adds three men and two women to one filed Sept. 6.

That suit was filed by a Southern Indiana woman who alleges Deering abused her while she was an elementary student at St. Augustine school in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The new plaintiffs include two brothers and their sister, a school teacher and a firefighter, said their lawyer, Lonnie T. Cooper. They allege sexual abuse by Deering in the 1950s and 1960s while they were students at St. Augustine.

Cooper said the plaintiffs contacted him after seeing news accounts of the previous lawsuit and felt strongly about taking action.

"If something isn't done, nothing changes," Cooper said.

Cooper said none of the plaintiffs wished to comment yesterday. All are from Southern Indiana, he said.

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

The woman who filed the original lawsuit alleging abuse by Deering is identified as "Jane Doe." Cooper said the plaintiff, a Southern Indiana woman in her 50s, wants to remain anonymous because she has been emotionally devastated by the ordeal and didn't want to face the trauma of going public.

The five who joined her lawsuit yesterday alleging abuse by Deering are:

Claude E. Fetter, who attended St. Augustine school from 1954 through 1961.

William J. Fetter, Claude Fetter's brother, who attended the school from 1957 to 1964.

Mary (Fetter) Lotze, the sister of Claude and William Fetter, who attended the school from 1955 to 1963.

Mary Fischer, a schoolteacher who attended the school from 1955 through 1963.

Anthony Harrod, a firefighter who attended the school from 1961 through 1968.

In addition to the lawsuit naming Deering, a Southern Indiana woman filed a lawsuit Aug. 29 against the archdiocese alleging she was sexually abused by the Rev. John Schoettelkotte in the mid-1960s at St. Mary's Church in New Albany.

Schoettelkotte was removed from active ministry in June.


published Oct. 18. 2002 p.A2 Because of a reporter's error, the late Rev. Albert Deery's name was misspelled in a story yesterday about a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis, alleging Deery abused six children at St. Augustine parish in Jeffersonsville in the 1950s and 1960s.



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