Religious Order Removed from Sex Abuse Suit
By David Sommer
Tampa Tribune (Florida)
November 28, 2002
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS HAS PASSED, JUDGE SAYS
ST. PETERSBURG - A man who says he was sexually molested while attending Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa during the 1980s waited too long to file a lawsuit against the religious order that runs the school, a judge has ruled.
The Florida statute of limitations for suing the Salesians of Don Bosco over the alleged actions of then-Brother William Burke passed in 1993, Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Judge John Lenderman wrote in a Nov. 22 order dismissing the Salesians as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by former Mary Help student Rick Gomez.
This month, Gomez voluntarily dropped the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg as a defendant in the lawsuit. The dismissal was filed without explanation, but diocese attorneys have said the local bishop has no control over the New York-based Salesian order and its members.
Lenderman's decision to remove the Salesians from the lawsuit leaves only the Vatican and Burke as defendants. Burke, now a priest who has taken a vow of poverty, has a motion pending before the judge to dismiss the lawsuit because of the statute of limitations, said attorney Eddie Suarez, who represents Burke.
The Vatican, which as a foreign country enjoys sovereign immunity from lawsuits, has not responded to Gomez's complaint, court records show.
Gomez and other attorneys involved in the lawsuit did not respond to telephone calls for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The lawsuit garnered national attention when it was filed at the height of the Catholic priest abuse scandal in April, but legal observers said then it had virtually no chance of succeeding.
Lenderman took into account the fact that Gomez was 14 when the alleged abuse occurred during the 1986-87 school year in Tampa. The judge said the four-year limit did not go into effect until 1989, when Gomez told his mother and she reported the allegations to police in Maryland, where the family had moved.
Maryland authorities then contacted Tampa police, who investigated but did not file charges.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems