New Suits against Archdiocese Name 2 Priests
1 Plaintiff Says Story on Miller's Journal Prompted Him to Sue
By Gregory A. Hall
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
February 15, 2003
Two witnesses in a criminal case against the Rev. Louis E. Miller and two women who say another priest sexually abused them filed civil lawsuits yesterday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville.
The suits, like the others filed since April, allege that the archdiocese knew about, but covered up, allegations of abuse by priests and other employees. Yesterday's lawsuits bring the total pending against the archdiocese to 213. Three other lawsuits have been settled.
Paul Amick, one of the plaintiffs who filed yesterday, said he was pushed "over the edge" and prompted to sue after reading a CourierJournal account this week of Miller's therapeutic journal. Miller wrote that former Archbishop John A. Floersh reassigned him to another parish in 1961 - despite allegations of abuse and Miller's offer to resign.
"The man could have been, should have been, stopped in 1961," Amick said yesterday, adding that Floersh and his successors have "aided and abetted child abuse."
Amick, now 55, of St. Matthews, says in his complaint that Miller abused him when he was an altar boy at Holy Spirit Church, in 1959 and 1960.
Cecelia Price, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined to comment on the lawsuits or Amick's statement.
Miller has pleaded innocent to criminal charges stemming from sexual abuse allegations by Amick and 28 others. Although not named as a defendant in the civil cases against the archdiocese, Miller is accused of abuse in 85 of those.
All four plaintiffs who filed yesterday are represented by William McMurry, who represents all but about 20 of the people who have sued the archdiocese.
Amick, who is head librarian at Kentucky Country Day School, said his primary concern initially was having Miller removed from ministry and minimizing the possibility that the abuse could occur again. But over the past six months, he said, he became "disgusted" with the way the Catholic Church has handled the crisis; he stopped attending Mass last summer.
"I felt it (his lawsuit) was the only way to get the church's attention," he said.
In the other Miller suit yesterday, John B. Eifler, now 54, alleges that Miller sexually abused him when he was a Holy Spirit altar boy in 1959.
Attempts yesterday to contact Eifler, who also is among those cited in the criminal cases against Miller, were unsuccessful.
In an October story about formation of a support group of former Holy Spirit students who allege Miller abused them, Eifler said he helped create that organization because "I just could not stand on the sidelines any longer."
The other two suits filed yesterday allege abuse by the late Rev. C. Patrick Creed, who had been named in two previous suits.
In one suit, Sheila R. Belluscio, now 51, alleges that Creed abused her in 1961 when she attended Holy Name Church, where Creed was assigned. McMurry said Belluscio alleges she was waiting for a bus when Creed took her into a school auditorium and abused her.
The complaint says that she told Monsignor Francis J. Timoney, the Holy Name pastor, on the following day and that shortly thereafter Creed was transferred to St. Aloysius in Louisville.
Timoney died in 1981, Price said. Creed was at Holy Name from 1951 to 1960, she said.
In the other suit, Kimberly Kay Shroyer, now 36, alleges that Creed abused her in 1975 when she attended St. Margaret Mary parish, where he was assigned at the time.
According to the complaint, Creed took Shroyer to a lake cabin, forced her into the lake and "held her head under the water and gave her every indication that she was going to drown." Following that, the complaint alleges, he took her into the cabin and sexually abused her.
Price said the archdiocese knew of no allegations involving Creed until the suits were filed.
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