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  Suit Alleges Boy Was Abused by Two Priests
Plaintiff Says 2nd Abuser Was Priest Sought for Help

By Bill Bell Jr.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)
February 19, 2003

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Jefferson City charges that first one Catholic priest and then another abused a boy as he grew into adulthood from 1979 to 1993.

The suit alleges that a former priest and deacon, Gary W. Pool, abused the victim when he attended the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and school in Jefferson City from 1979 to 1984. The plaintiff, identified in the lawsuit as John Doe 70, was 8 years old when the abuse began, said his lawyer, Patrick W. Noaker, of St. Paul, Minn. The plaintiff now lives in North Carolina, Noaker said.

Noaker said his client sought help from another priest at the church, the Rev. Kevin P. Clohessy. The lawsuit charges that Clohessy gave the victim alcohol before having "unlawful sexual contact" with him in and near the church rectory and in the Jefferson City area. The suit charges that Clohessy abused the victim from approximately 1984 to 1993.

"I am obviously shocked," said Pool, of Jefferson City, a computer assistance help desk supervisor who has been married about four years. "I hope to prove my innocence. I hesitate to say more because it is a civil suit and I have not talked to a lawyer. I don't know who (John Doe) is."

Kevin Clohessy could not be reached for comment.

Kevin Clohessy's brother is David Clohessy of St. Louis, the national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

David Clohessy said: "I'm terribly, terribly sad for what this child had to endure, and, at the same time, I am terribly, terribly sad for my family."

The suit also alleges that former Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe and his successor, Bishop John Raymond Gaydos, were negligent and should have exercised more care in supervising the two priests. McAuliffe was bishop of the diocese from 1969 to August 1997, when he retired. Gaydos served in St. Louis until the pope appointed him the bishop of the Jefferson City Diocese in 1997.

The civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages "in an amount sure to exceed $75,000."

"This isn't about money," Noaker said. "This is about protecting children."

Mark Saucier, a spokesman for the Jefferson City Diocese, had no comment on the lawsuit, saying church officials had not seen it.

According to the diocese, Pool served as deacon at Immaculate Conception parish before being ordained as a priest in May 1982. He worked at a church in Hannibal, Mo., and at the Cathedral of St. Joseph and at St. Peter parish in Jefferson City until June 1987. He then took a leave of absence from the priesthood and was returned to the lay state by the Vatican in 1993.

Clohessy was ordained in April 1985 after serving as a deacon at two parishes. He was associate pastor of Immaculate Conception in Jefferson City from July 1985 to July 1989.

In 1989, Clohessy because the director of the Newman Center of what was then called Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville, now called Truman State University.

Clohessy took a leave of absence in June 1993 and returned to the ministry in April 1994. He worked at the St. Francis Xavier parish in Taos from 1994 to June 2000, when he resigned from the active ministry. He had been working at the Boone County Red Cross in Columbia until he resigned in March.

A separate lawsuit involving another person alleged that Clohessy abused a male college student at Truman State. The suit was dismissed in 1993 because the statute of limitations had run out.

 
 

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