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  Diocese Reaches Settlement with Two Accusers

Associated Press State & Local Wire
June 17, 2003

The Diocese of Covington settled a lawsuit filed by two former employees who claimed they were terminated for reporting sexual assaults and harassment by priests.

Most of the settlement is confidential, but the attorney for the plaintiffs - Mark DiMuzio and his father, John DiMuzio - said the church paid $50,000 to settle a childhood sexual abuse claim against the Rev. Paul Ciangetti, who died in 1995. The diocese confirmed that payment.

Mark DiMuzio said that Ciangetti molested him when he was an altar boy at Mary Queen of Heaven Church in Erlanger in 1971-72.

The lawsuit also included an allegation that Mark DiMuzio was sexually assaulted by Bishop J. Kendrick Williams, who resigned in 2001 as head of the Diocese of Lexington after similar allegations surfaced about his days as a priest in Louisville. Williams has denied abusing anyone, and he was not personally named in the lawsuit.

Neither side would comment on the Williams claim.

DiMuzio had claimed that Williams, who then was serving as auxiliary bishop in Covington, "repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted" him in 1986-87. DiMuzio was an adult at the time.

Mark DiMuzio and his father worked a combined 68 years as maintenance men for the diocese before they left in early 2002.

The elder DiMuzio, a 42-year veteran of the diocese, said he complained many times through the years to various church officials about "a sexually charged workplace." But the complaints often were ignored, or he was told to stay quiet, he said.

When the two complained directly to the Rev. Gerald Reinersman, the diocese's chancellor, they were told to stay quiet, according to their attorney, Barbara Bonar. Eventually, Reinersman told the pair they would be better off if they no longer worked for the diocese, she said.

The two men, however, issued a statement Monday praising the diocese for resolving the problem. "The power of prayer played a major role in the settlement," the statement said.

The diocese said in a statement that it was "glad that it's worked out to the DiMuzios' satisfaction."

 
 

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