Abuser's Exit from Vatican Pleases Victim
Suspension Likely, One Official Says
By Kristin McAllister
Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
September 1, 2003
KETTERING - A Catholic priest said he's relieved that a former associate pastor of his church, who was accused in the 1990s of sexual abuse of a teenage girl, resigned recently from a temporary Vatican post and "is likely to be suspended" by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Monsignor Lawrence Breslin of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Kettering said Sunday a former assistant pastor at the church, the Rev. Daniel Pater, 50, recently resigned a high-ranking Vatican diplomatic post in India under intense pressure.
Pater's resignation comes a decade after a woman accused Pater of sexual abuse which began in the early 1980s when she was 14 and a member of the parish. The case was settled in 1995, but Pater continued to work in Vatican diplomatic posts until about two weeks ago, Breslin said.
Breslin has spoken with the woman and with her husband and mother since then, he said Sunday.
"They feel that it's over," Breslin said. "Of course, they're sad that this all happened, but they are glad there's a conclusion."
The victim in her 30s and with a family of her own, sued Pater in 1993 along with the parish, Alter High School and archdiocesan officials.
Pater was associate pastor at St. Charles Borromeo from 1979 to 1982. The woman's lawsuit, which she filed under the name Jane Doe, claimed the sexual abuse began in the early 1980s and occurred through 1990 or 1991. Pater in 1982 left the United States for the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, but the woman said the abuse continued during his visits to the Dayton area.
All defendants except Pater were dismissed and the case against Pater ended in an out-of-court payment to the woman.
Pater's resignation provides some form of closure for the woman and her family, Breslin said.
"I understand he has resigned sometime in the last two weeks," Breslin said. "He's out of the Vatican's hands. He's renounced from the Vatican."
Breslin said now that Pater, 50, has left his position as a temporary Apostolic Nunciature - the No. 2 Vatican diplomat in New Delhi - the matter is in the hands of Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Tricia Hempel on Saturday said Pater is in good standing and his eligibility for ministry will be decided this year by the archbishop. Neither Hempel nor anyone with the archdiocese could be reached Sunday for comment.
Breslin described Hempel's comment that Pater is "in good standing" as a standard response regarding someone not yet suspended.
"I don't know why he's not already suspended. There's no other solution. (Pilarczyk) has no choice but to suspend him," Breslin said. "I don't think he'll ever function as a priest again."
Breslin said he is relieved by Pater's resignation.
"Oh yes," he said in a barely audible tone. "But I, too, like the young woman and her family, are sad by this all. I've been living with this for a long time because of the people in the parish. I think the church, the institution, in general does not handle these things well."
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