Navy Retiree Sues Scranton Diocese over Church Abuse

Associated Press, carried in Scranton Times-Tribune
December 13, 2005

David Irvin, 41, of Kentucky, said he was abused for several years starting in 1969 _ when he was 6 _ by the late Rev. Robert Caparelli of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Old Forge, in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The abuse took place at the home of Caparelli's parents, who lived near Irvin's family, the suit alleges.

Caparelli was indicted on 26 counts of child sexual abuse in 1991 and was convicted of rape and other charges before dying in prison a few years later, the suit states.

Irvin alleges that the Scranton diocese received complaints as early as 1968 that Caparelli had been abusing altar boys, and proceeded to transfer him from parish to parish until 1991.

"The acts of defendant Diocese allowed pedophile predators such as Fr. Caparelli to perpetrate criminal acts of child sexual abuse upon children of its members. This is indicative of a pattern throughout many dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church that has gone on for decades throughout the United States," charged the suit, filed in federal court in Scranton by lawyer Joseph H. Saunders of Pinellas Park, Fla.

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act allows military members to delay civil court actions, including bankruptcy and divorce proceedings, while they are serving in the armed forces. The strategy has been used in other church-abuse suits to try to overcome state statutes of limitations, said David Clohessey of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Scranton diocese spokesman Bill Genello said Tuesday that he could not immediately comment on the pending litigation.


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