Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed against Former Queens Pastor

Associated Press State & Local Wire
November 7, 2003

A $10 million lawsuit filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn claims a former Queens priest molested the young daughter of a church employee.

Lawyer Michael Dowd, who represents the alleged victim's family, filed the lawsuit naming the Rev. James Smith in state Supreme Court in Queens on Thursday.

The suit charges that Smith, who was pastor at St. Kevin's Church in the Flushing section for 13 years, molested the girl from 1996 to 2000. Dowd said Friday the alleged abuse took place in the church rectory and also at Smith's home, in Amityville, on Long Island.

Smith was placed on administrative leave in April 2002 following allegations that he had been involved in sexually abusing other minors.

Dowd alleged that the diocese was aware of complaints against Smith and advised him of them in 1999 but did nothing to remove him until three years later.

The lawsuit filed Thursday charges that Smith molested the daughter of a church worker, beginning when she was 10 years old. The girl is now 17, said Dowd.

Last month, Dowd filed a separate $300 million lawsuit against the Brooklyn diocese and its top clergy, alleging they covered up sexual abuse of minors by priests dating back five decades.

In that suit, which also named Smith as one of the clergy, Dowd alleged that diocesan priests abused at least 43 children, ranging in age from seven to 17, from 1960 to 1984. Smith has denied those allegations.

Frank DeRosa, a spokesman for the diocese, said Smith had already been removed as pastor when the diocese learned of the new allegation.

DeRosa said the allegation that Smith had molested a church secretary's daughter had been reported to the Queens district attorney's office, and that the diocese had not seen the lawsuit filed Thursday.


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