Former Altar Boy Sues Indianapolis Archdiocese Alleging Sex Abuse

Associated Press
July 27, 2004

A former altar boy has sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis claiming that two priests - including one who is still a pastor - sexually abused him three decades ago.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Marion Superior Court claimed that the Rev. Carlton J. Beever and former Rev. Thomas J. Amsden sexually abused the boy at St. Mary Parish in Greensburg, about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis, between 1972 and 1977.

Beever, 56, is pastor of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, a congregation with 355 households on Indianapolis' east side.

The archdiocese placed Beever on administrative leave Monday and started an internal investigation, spokeswoman Susan Borcherts told The Indianapolis Star. Amsden, 62, resigned as pastor of St. Mary in 1995 to get married, Borcherts said.

Beever said he had no comment when contacted Monday night by The Associated Press. There was no listing for Amsden in the Indianapolis area.

Beever and Amsden deny the claims, the archdiocese said in a news release.

The man, identified only as Joseph S.S. in court records, is the second person to file a lawsuit against the archdiocese since it reported in February that 20 Indiana priests had been found to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors since 1950.

The latest lawsuit says the claimant suffered psychological damage, emotional distress and underwent therapy. The only other information in the lawsuit about him is that he was born in 1967.

Church officials learned about the accusations two years ago when the man wrote a letter outlining the allegations, Borcherts said. The diocese did not investigate because the claimant refused to talk to officials, she said.

St. Mary, a parish of 1,250 households, operates a school with 269 students from preschool through sixth-grade.

The claimant's attorney Eric Koch names the church, school, archdiocese, Amsden and Beever as defendants.

Church records show Amsden was associate pastor at the church from 1973 to 1977. Beever was an associate pastor there from 1977 to 1981.

Bocherts said the archdiocese encourages parishioners to report past abuse.


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