Woman Sues Catholic Church Again
Archdiocese Reneged on Promise, Suit Says
By Tom Beyerlein
Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
March 24, 2004
DAYTON - A woman who settled a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1995 filed a new lawsuit Tuesday, contending Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk violated the settlement's terms by assigning a sexually abusive priest to foreign diplomatic posts with the Vatican where he could again abuse children.
The woman, filing as Jane Doe No. 1, was joined by another woman in claiming she was molested by the Rev. Daniel Pater in the 1980s, when both women were minors in the St. Charles Borromeo parish of Kettering and Pater was assistant pastor there. The lawsuit, which names Pilarczyk, the archdiocese and Pater as defendants, seeks $8 million in damages for alleged fraud, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Attached to the lawsuit are two settlement agreements dated June 13, 1995 - one between the woman and Pater, the other between the woman and the archdiocese. The original lawsuit was formally closed in court two days later. The woman had brought the lawsuit in 1993 and a judge dismissed the archdiocese and Pilarczyk as defendants in 1994.
Both of the settlement agreements require confidentiality as to the terms and negotiations leading to them. As part of her agreement with Pater, the woman agreed not to "initiate or precipitate any criminal prosecution" against Pater. That agreement also allowed the woman to see a letter from Pilarczyk to Pater "which contains the precepts (directives) he is required to abide by in the future . . . but no copies of said letter shall be made" for the woman.
Her lawyer, Konrad Kircher of Mason, on Tuesday said, "Her understanding, based on that letter and the settlement, was Pater was not going to be in a position where he could abuse children. That has not happened. As a diplomat, he has immunity. He was in a position where he could have committed terrible abuses."
In his work with the Vatican, Pater was assigned to India, Australia and Zaire, according to the lawsuit. Kircher said he is not aware of any allegations against Pater stemming from his overseas work.
Dan Andriacco, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said officials hadn't seen the new lawsuit and thus couldn't comment on it. But he disputed Kircher's contention that the archdiocese pressured the woman into a confidential agreement that required her not to file criminal charges against Pater, noting that provision was only in her agreement with Pater. He said Pater had separate legal counsel and he paid his own attorney fees.
Andriacco also said the archdiocese is under no obligation today to show the woman Pilarczyk's letter to Pater detailing his restrictions, because that provision, too, was only in her agreement with Pater.
"Any assertion that this settlement was part of a cover-up is ridiculous," Andriacco said. "By 1995, the story (of Pater's abuse) had been told repeatedly and very publicly."
In a 1994 affidavit, the woman said Pater, then assistant pastor of St. Charles, seduced her into having sex with him by the time she was 14. At the time, she was recovering from the trauma of the death of her brother, who was hit by a car in 1980, she said. She said Pater continued to sexually exploit her into the early 1990s, when he returned to the area on vacation.
Hamilton native Pater was assistant pastor at St. Charles from his ordination in 1979 until he left in 1982 for overseas assignment with the Vatican, but he remains a priest of the Cincinnati archdiocese. He is now one of 14 area priests on leave awaiting possible permanent removal from the priesthood because of substantiate allegations of child sexual abuse.
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