Boys Town Off Hook in Case
The Third of Five Sex Abuse Lawsuits is Dismissed When the Plaintiff Fails to Hire A New Attorney
By Todd Cooper
Omaha World Herald
May 18, 2006
A judge has dismissed a sexual abuse lawsuit against Girls and Boys Town and a former priest there after the plaintiff failed to hire a new attorney or proceed on his own.
Douglas County District Judge J. Patrick Mullen this week threw out the lawsuit filed in September by Wyoming resident Darren Boudreau.
Boudreau, 34, had alleged that the Rev. Richard Colbert, who had been a priest at Boys Town from 1986 to 1988, molested him numerous times while Boudreau was a student at the village for troubled teenagers.
He also accused Boys Town of failing to properly supervise Colbert. The case put Boys Town officials in the position of having to weigh the claims of Boudreau, a troubled man, against the suspicions they had of a priest they fired after an incident with another child.
Attorneys for Colbert and Boys Town said they found nothing to corroborate Boudreau's allegations of abuse. With the dismissal, just two of five sex abuse lawsuits remain against Boys Town.
Judges have thrown out the others.
"I believe in plaintiffs' rights to air their claims," said Steve Lefler, an attorney for Colbert. "(But) there was no way we were going to lose this case.
"Not only was there no proof it happened, we would have had any number of people testify that there was no way it could have happened when and where he described."
Likewise, James Martin Davis, an attorney for Girls and Boys Town, said his investigators found no one to corroborate Boudreau's accusations.
Boudreau said the abuse happened in a number of places, including a campus chapel and the locker room of the field house. Davis said records put Boudreau at different places at the times of the alleged abuse -- or put dozens of other students in the field house at the same time.
Boudreau, who has had three felony convictions and numerous psychiatric stays, had said he wanted to expose Colbert and didn't care whether he profited from the lawsuit.
His lawsuit's chances took a nose dive when his original attorney withdrew from the case.
Boudreau filed for bankruptcy before filing the lawsuit in September. And Boudreau's attorney decided he wasn't willing to spend time and money to benefit Boudreau's bankruptcy estate.
That left Boudreau with no attorney. He also had no one to support his claims.
Colbert, who has been on leave from his Warsaw, Mo., parish since the lawsuit was filed, has denied any wrongdoing and said he doesn't remember Boudreau. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Officials of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., also didn't return phone calls. They have said they had received no other complaints against Colbert, who has worked in the diocese since 1989.
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