Dallas Resources – June 19–30, 1997
By Ed Housewright
The mother of a young man who committed suicide after allegedly being sexually abused by a Catholic priest implored his other victims Wednesday to seek therapy.
"I don't want to happen to them what happened to Jay," testified Nancy Lemberger, referring to the suicide of her son, Jay Lemberger. "If they don't get some good help, they're in trouble."
Mr. Lemberger, 21, fatally shot himself in a park in 1992 after 10 years of sexual abuse by the Rev. Rudolph "Rudy" Kos, his mother said tearfully at the civil trial of Mr. Kos and the Dallas Diocese.
She attributes his death to the alleged abuse, as does a psychiatrist who will testify later, said Windle Turley, the attorney for eight plaintiffs, including Mrs. Lemberger and her husband, Pat.
They are the only parents of victims among the plaintiffs and the only ones who have allowed their names to be used.
Jay Lemberger, who met Mr. Kos at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas, had twice tried to commit suicide in the two years before his death, his mother testified.
He first showed signs of depression when he abruptly quit swimming during a high school meet and curled up on the floor in tears. He spent six months in a psychiatric hospital and was visited numerous times in private by Mr. Kos.
Later, Mr. Kos read a homily at Jay's funeral.
The Lembergers didn't suspect that their son had been sexually abused by Mr. Kos until more than a year after his death, when the first young man filed a lawsuit against the former priest and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
Eleven plaintiffs are seeking $146.5 million from Mr. Kos and the diocese.
The Mr. Kos, 52, who lives in San Diego and has not attended the trial, is accused of abusing altar boys at three churches from 1981 to 1992.
He already has been found liable for the abuse because he has not responded to the lawsuits. The diocese says that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' conduct.
On Wednesday, Mrs. Lemberger testified that she considered Mr. Kos to be her son's best friend and a needed role model because her husband frequently traveled on business.
"He wrestled with them, took them places, bought them pizzas," Mrs. Lemberger said. "He was really likable." The jury was shown a picture of Jay as a 12-year-old in his altar boy clothing standing next to a smiling Mr. Kos. Behind them was a picture of the pope.
Mrs. Lemberger said her son discussed theology with Mr. Kos and considered becoming a priest. One Halloween, he dressed in priest's clothing.
The Lembergers say they believe Mr. Kos sexually abused their son as he is accused by other youths of doing, by masturbating himself with the boys' feet.
While Jay was in a psychiatric hospital, his mother bought him new sneakers, and he inexplicably tore them to shreds, she testified. Later, he drew several detailed black-and-white sketches of feet from various angles, which were shown to the jury.
Mrs. Lemberger, a devout Catholic, said that after Jay committed suicide she struggled with whether he was going to hell.
"It was really confusing because I'd been taught to believe if someone takes their own life, they're going to hell. I don't believe that," she said, crying. "I know he's not there. I know he's in heaven. But it's been a big issue. My girls don't go to church . . .
"I still believe in God and still go to church, but it's getting harder and harder."
Also Wednesday, jurors heard from a 28-year-old man who said Mr. Kos began sexually abusing him as a teenager after he told Mr. Kos in confessional that he was struggling with homosexual feelings.
Mr. Kos then volunteered to counsel the boy for his urges, which the man testified made him feel extremely guilty.
Without knowing that Mr. Kos was accused of sexually abusing other youths, the man said he listened as Mr. Kos tried to justify homosexuality with Bible verses.
At one point he kissed the boy, telling him, "This is a sign of what's to come," the man testified.
The first time he spent the night with Mr. Kos, as other boys had, Mr. Kos had him perform anal sex on him, the man testified.
"He said, `How does it feel not to be a virgin anymore? ' " said the man, then 15.
Earlier Wednesday, a 31-year-old man testified that Mr. Kos wore priest's clothing most of the time when he abused him over 11 years. He also said that when he spent the night at the rectory, he often slept in a TV room that adjoined Mr. Kos' bedroom because other boys were sleeping with Mr. Kos.
The man, like many of the other plaintiffs, testified that he didn't realize he was being sexually abused until years after the abuse stopped. The man said Mr. Kos also sexually abused the man's two younger brothers.
He told of a troubled life since the alleged sexual abuse. He was unsuccessful at completing college after attending several schools. He estimated he has had 20 jobs since high school and has difficulty with relationships.
He testified that his wife, who knows few of the details of his alleged abuse, has asked him for a divorce during the trial because she can't understand how the sexual contact went on for so long.
Throughout the trial, his attorney, Mr. Turley, has said boys who are sexually abused by clergy find it difficult to flee the abuse even when they become adults.
"Priests were almost like super heroes," the 31-year-old man testified of his views as a boy. "What they said was as good as gold. . . . Now I don't think highly of them at all."
By Ed Housewright
A man who has accused a Catholic priest of sexually abusing him as a teenager on Thursday angrily denounced a psychiatrist's report - commissioned by church officials - that says he wanted the sexual relationship.
"I was a 14-year-old who grew up in a strict Catholic family," the man, now 28, said outside the courtroom. "Certainly I didn't initiate anything. I'm furious about it. To me, it doesn't look like an accident."
Earlier, the man testified during the civil trial of the Dallas diocese and former priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos that he reacted strongly to the abuse, getting serious skin rashes, diarrhea, nausea and panic attacks.
"He says he wanted to have it," the 1994 report says of the victim's attitude about sex. "He wanted to have his first sexual relationship, and he wanted to have it within the trusting relationship with Father Kos." The 13-page report, first discussed in court Thursday, says that Mr. Kos didn't have to give him alcohol or drugs, as the priest allegedly did other youths, to get him to go along with the abuse.
"It's totally offensive," the man's attorney, Sylvia Demarest, said during a break in the trial. "It's a complete fabrication." The attorney for the Dallas diocese stood by the accuracy of the report, which the plaintiff said contained other errors.
"I disagree that anything significant is in error," said Randal Mathis, attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas. "I'd have to go back and look at it to see exactly what it said.
"No one is blaming the plaintiff. When you start looking at psychiatric reports, you have to be very careful about taking things out of context."
The man is one of 11 plaintiffs seeking $146.5 million from Mr. Kos and the diocese. The abuse allegedly occurred at three churches from 1981 to 1992.
Mr. Kos, who now lives in San Diego, has not attended the trial and already has been found liable for the abuse because he has not responded to the lawsuits. The diocese says that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' conduct.
In addition, Mr. Kos faces a criminal trial this year on one count of indecency with a child and one count of sexual contact with a child.
Outside the courtroom Thursday, Mr. Mathis said he thought Ms. Demarest's criticism of the report was an attempt to "take potshots" at its author, Dr. John Looney of Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Looney is scheduled to testify in the trial.
"I think they'll take every opportunity to take shots at Dr. Looney because he's an extremely competent physician who is expected to have a lot to say about the plaintiffs and the circumstances that gave rise to all this," Mr. Mathis said.
The 28-year-old, a financial analyst, said he has lived with another man in a gay relationship for eight years. He said he realized he was gay in his teens but didn't consent to the relationship with Mr. Kos.
Before he became involved with Mr. Kos, he said, he struggled with homosexual tendencies and went to Mr. Kos for counseling, expecting him to disapprove of homosexuality. Instead, the plaintiff said, he encouraged the boy's tendencies and gradually engaged him in a sexual relationship.
The man testified that he wonders whether he would be gay today if he had never met Mr. Kos.
"He took away the opportunity to discover for myself who I was supposed to be," the man said. "He basically said, `This is who you are. Learn to be that person. ' I didn't go through the natural evolution process." The psychiatric report erroneously said that the man had a gay friend in high school and that the two of them joined the football team so they could be near a coach they liked, the man said.
"I didn't have any gay friends," he testified.
Another man who has reported abuse by Mr. Kos said Thursday that Dr. Looney's report on him also contained errors.
For instance, it said that he had cried because he missed Mr. Kos.
"Did you ever weep over Father Kos? " the man's attorney, Windle Turley, asked him.
"Not at all," the man, also 28, replied.
Unlike the other man who testified Thursday, this man said he was plied with alcohol by Mr. Kos. He said his drinking became so bad that he was downing 18 beers a day during high school, eventually dropping out and attempting suicide.
The man said he told Mr. Kos that his dad was an alcoholic and that he had misgivings about drinking, but he said Mr. Kos encouraged him nonetheless. The man has since been in a residential rehabilitation program for alcoholics.
"A lot of things have been taken away from me that I can't get back," he said.
He said his mother now suffers extreme guilt because she drove him to the rectory at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas to spend the night with Mr. Kos, as many other boys were doing.
"It hurts me," the man said. "She shouldn't have to feel that way. "
By Ed Housewright
A 23-year-old college student testified Friday that he waited four months for Catholic officials to respond to his complaints of sexual abuse by a priest before deciding to sue the Dallas diocese.
"I thought for sure I'd at least have a meeting with the bishop
or an apology," said the plaintiff, who became the first young man
to complain of sexual abuse in 1992. "It was like they didn't care.
The diocese's attorney, Randal Mathis, said the church did care and immediately sent the Rev. Rudolph "Rudy" Kos to a New Mexico treatment center for pedophiles. But he acknowledged that church officials didn't respond quickly enough to the man's request for counseling.
"The diocese officials were considering the matter and trying to determine what the appropriate response would be," Mr. Mathis said during a break in the civil trial of Mr. Kos and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas. "The bureaucracy was too slow to work."
The 23-year-old said he was sexually abused by Mr. Kos for seven years starting when he was 9.
In September 1992 he and his mother met with the diocese's No. 2 official, Monsignor Duffy Gardner, to tell him of the incidents. He said he then was told over the next few months to contact several different people within the diocese.
"They never initiated any calls," the man said. "I called them. I felt to get anywhere I'd have to hire an attorney."
After he filed suit, he was joined by 10 other plaintiffs, who are seeking $146.5 million from the diocese and Mr. Kos. The sexual abuse allegedly occurred at three churches from 1981 to 1992.
The Mr. Kos, 52, who lives in San Diego, has already been found liable for the abuse because he hasn't responded to the lawsuits.
The diocese says that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' conduct.
When the 23-year-old left the witness stand Friday, it marked the end of the testimony from the young men who say they were sexually abused. The trial, which has lasted seven weeks, is expected to continue for about three more weeks.
The man told many of the same stories of abuse as the other plaintiffs. He too said that most of the abuse consisted of Mr. Kos masturbating with the boy's foot but that it also progressed to oral sex.
His first remembrance of Mr. Kos, he said, was of the priest chasing him around a church parking lot trying to tickle him.
When the sexual abuse began, he said, Mr. Kos often smelled and kissed his feet before rubbing them against his crotch.
"He told me how good clean feet smelled," the man testified.
Like the other plaintiffs, the 23-year-old said that Mr. Kos encouraged him to drink. On a trip to see Mr. Kos' mother when the boy was 13, Mr. Kos bought him a bottle of Everclear, a beverage with an extremely high alcohol content. He then watched as the boy became so drunk that he passed out into a toilet.
The man testified that Mr. Kos sexually abused him several times in a trailer next to Mr. Kos' mother's house. He also said Mr. Kos abused him during visits to the boy's home.
Wherever the abuse occurred, he said he often acted like he was asleep to dissociate himself from the abuse.
"I always felt dirty, like my soul had been soiled," the 23-year-old said. "I was angry because I had a very close relationship with God at that time and I wondered why God was allowing this to happen. I was very confused. " Also Friday, the father of the youngest plaintiff - a recent high school graduate - testified of being deceived by Mr. Kos on several occasions.
As Mr. Kos was being sent away to the New Mexico treatment center for pedophiles, he stopped by the family's house in Ennis and said emotionally that he was going away to be treated for stress, the father said. Mr. Kos said he was on the verge of an emotional breakdown and was suicidal, the man said.
The man said he gathered his wife and children together and they cried over him leaving. They then helped him pack his belongings into the early morning hours, he testified.
The man said he called Monsignor Gardner the next day and asked him what he should do with some possessions Mr. Kos left with the family.
Monsignor Gardner didn't tell him the truth about why Mr. Kos was being sent away, nor did a statement soon read to parishioners, the man testified.
"There was a cover-up," he said.
Mr. Mathis denied that characterization. He said church officials couldn't initially say why Mr. Kos was being sent away because many of the details of the accusations were unclear.
"The diocese was just in the very early stages of trying to figure out what had happened," Mr. Mathis said outside the courtroom. "Everyone has civil rights. You can't jump the gun."
The father testified Friday that he's particularly angry he wasn't told of the allegations against Mr. Kos, because Mr. Kos continued his contact with the man's son while he was at the treatment center.
He wrote numerous letters to the boy and visited him during a Christmas leave from the center, abusing him at the boy's home, the father said.
He testified that he didn't learn that his son had been sexually abused until about six months later, after lawsuits were filed and a story appeared on the TV news.
He said he immediately asked his son if he had been victimized.
The boy initially denied it, then broke down in tears and told of the abuse.
"My worst nightmare had come true," the father testified. "I felt guilt, anger, rage. I felt like I had let him down because I let that happen to him. "
By Ed Housewright
The boys who were sexually abused by the Rev. Rudolph "Rudy" Kos have suffered "post-traumatic stress syndrome" similar to veterans and now have memory loss and concentration lapses that have hurt their education and careers, a psychiatrist testified Tuesday.
"Society has paid dearly for those thousands of episodes [of sexual abuse] the boys have told about," said Dr. Gilbert Kliman of San Francisco during the civil trial of Mr. Kos and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. "Society has lost some of its best young men."
Dr. Kliman, who extensively examined seven of the 11 plaintiffs, also said that the sexual abuse was "reasonably foreseeable" by church officials. He said church officials need to acknowledge a concealment of the abuse to help with the victims' psychological recovery and reconciliation with the church.
"Financial compensation will not suffice," Dr. Kliman testified.
"There must be genuine remorse and an effort to give group support to those persons."
The attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, Randal Mathis, said church officials have expressed their regret for Mr. Kos' sexual abuse. But he reiterated that they did not conceal the abuse.
"It would be ludicrous to suggest an apology for something we didn't do," Mr. Mathis said outside the courtroom. "Expressing regret that something happened doesn't mean it's your fault. It's the fault of Rudy Kos.
"Everyone recognizes the plaintiffs are in need of a certain amount of psychological care. That's not what the dispute is about. The question is whether the diocese was negligent in its supervision. We think the answer is no"
The plaintiffs are seeking $146.5 million from Mr. Kos and the diocese. The abuse allegedly occurred from 1981 to 1992 at three churches.
State District Judge Anne Ashby already has ruled that Mr. Kos is liable for the abuse because he hasn't responded to the lawsuits.
During his testimony Tuesday, Dr. Kliman said Mr. Kos' abuse of the boys, who were as young as 9 at the time, was a form of incest.
He said Mr. Kos had his "tentacles in the minds and hearts of the boys and their families "
"The boys' efforts to become a person in their own right and to develop was distorted in a kind of evil, monstrous way," Dr. Kliman testified. "The force that should have contributed to a healthy set of ideals created an undermining of ideals when character is being shaped into adulthood."
The younger the victim is at the time of sexual abuse, the more it "distorts" their personality, he said.
"There may have to be tremendous surgery to straighten out the tree of personality," Dr. Kliman said.
He estimated that one victim would need $200,000 worth of counseling because of depression and other symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress syndrome. He estimated another victim would need $282,000 worth of counseling.
Many of the victims, he said, disassociated themselves from the abuse while it was occurring. One victim testified earlier in the trial, now in its seventh week, that he pretended to be asleep.
Disassociating, while understandable, can make the long-term impact of sexual abuse even greater, Dr. Kliman said.
He said these victims of Mr. Kos probably will have difficulties in their marriages with intimacy and sexuality. Parenting also will be affected. Several told Dr. Kliman in their lengthy interviews with him that they are reluctant to change their children's diapers or bathe them for fear that it could be misconstrued as a form of sexual abuse.
"They don't trust themselves as parents," Dr. Kliman said.
Mr. Mathis said that doctors he would call to testify later would disagree with some of Dr. Kliman's conclusions.
"His [Dr. Kliman's] testimony is as expected," Mr. Mathis said outside the courtroom. "He's a paid expert by the plaintiffs. We think a number of his overall conclusions are at odds with what various other involved physicians have concluded.
"I think he's overstating the consequences of their involvement with Kos."
He said that the some of the educational and career problems the victims have had may have been attributable to factors other than Mr. Kos' abuse.
"It's hard to say what part of their difficulties were from the abuse or from other things," Mr. Mathis said. "Clearly other things were going on in the boys' lives. " Dr. Kliman testified that he felt certain that a young man who committed suicide in 1992 had been sexually abused by Mr. Kos. The boy's mother, Nancy Lemberger, agreed during her testimony last week.
Dr. Kliman said that Jay Lemberger, who was 21 when he fatally shot himself, "couldn't extricate himself from the moral dilemma" caused by the sexual abuse. His journal several times referred to death as "the other side. " "He wanted to go to the other side because of the guilt," Dr. Kliman said. "He couldn't resolve it except to kill himself. "
By Ed Housewright
"I don't know why I didn't stop him from doing that," one of the victims, now 18, said in a videotaped interview with Dr. Gilbert Kliman of San Francisco. "It was stupid of me to let him do that." The young man doesn't blame Mr. Kos for the abuse, Dr. Kliman pointed out to the jury watching the video.
"Instead of being angry at Father Kos, there's self-directed anger," said Dr. Kliman, who has extensively examined seven of the 11 plaintiffs.
He said it's "vital" for church officials who supervised Mr. Kos to apologize to his victims so they don't "hold themselves responsible. " Dr. Kliman also said an apology was needed during his first day of testimony Tuesday.
"There were years of egregious administrative neglect," he said Wednesday. "There was a cumulative blind eye, a cumulative colluding. Generally, repeated abuse doesn't occur without collusion." Randal Mathis, the attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, denied that church officials conspired to cover up the sexual abuse.
Mr. Mathis said Wednesday, as he did Tuesday, that church officials have expressed regret about the abuse but don't need to apologize because they were not negligent in their supervision of Mr. Kos.
"Dr. Kliman made a number of accusations we don't think are founded on the facts," Mr. Mathis said after testimony ended Wednesday. "The diocese thought it was taking appropriate steps at every stage of their dealings with Rudy Kos " Eleven plaintiffs are seeking $146.5 million from Mr. Kos and the diocese. The abuse allegedly occurred at three churches from 1981 to 1992.
Mr. Kos, 52, who lives in San Diego, has not attended the trial and has already been found liable for the abuse because he hasn't responded to the lawsuits.
On Wednesday, Dr. Kliman testified that there were numerous "intervention points," dating back to 1981, when Mr. Kos should have been kept away from children.
He said the sexual abuse grew into an "epidemic" that "poisoned" the psychological development of the youths, who were as young as 9 when the abuse began.
"It's beyond human comprehension to think a divinely empowered person would be so evil and harmful," Dr. Kliman testified.
He read his evaluations of several of the plaintiffs to the jury, showing videotapes of his interviews with them. All the victims, he said, have suffered in their careers and personal lives because of the abuse.
The plaintiffs have testified that they were abused as many as 500 times each, but Dr. Kliman said that may be a low estimate. He said the alcohol and drugs they were given by Mr. Kos have hurt their memories of the abuse. He also said some "dissociated" from the abuse while it was occurring and now can't recall the incidents.
Dr. Kliman said that because the abuse was being committed by a respected priest, the victims were psychologically unable to resist it or tell others.
The 18-year-old victim whose videotaped interview was shown to the jury also said in it that he was afraid to reject Mr. Kos' advances.
"He was a lot bigger than me," the teenager said. "If I would have said no or `Don't do that,' I would have been afraid he might go a little further and do something else I really, really didn't want him to do. " He said he also worried that if he resisted the abuse, Mr. Kos might tell others that the youth wanted to have a sexual relationship.
Mr. Kos exercised "emotional blackmail" over the youths, in part because many had told him secrets during confessionals, Dr. Kliman said.
The 18-year-old "could have been one of the winners of society, one of the leaders," Dr. Kliman said. "Now he doesn't view himself as a good, worthwhile person who should be leading others. " He said the man needs $282,000 worth of therapy - similar to the amount he said other victims need - to "reshape his thinking and self-concept."
Windle Turley, the attorney for eight of the plaintiffs, introduced a 1983 letter from a parishioner at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas, where Mr. Kos allegedly first sexually abused boys.
The two-page letter, written to the bishop, raised no concerns about Mr. Kos, instead praising him as having a "special, natural way with children. " The woman who wrote the letter said Mr. Kos' dressing area was "always full of altar boys" and after Mass he always hugged and talked to boys.
"He will always rearrange a counseling session or postpone one, except for children and young teens," the woman wrote. "One day he expressed his desire to work more with kids because he said, `I just love them. ' . . .
"Perhaps God has him in the priesthood to begin a special ministry in the diocese for children and teens especially. The church needs priests with talent like his to assist our Lord in teaching the next generation of Catholics."
By Ed Housewright
The mother of a 13-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually abused by a priest in the early 1980s testified Thursday that church officials never reported the abuse to police and quietly transferred the priest to another church.
The woman testified about former priest William Hughes during the civil trial of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas and former priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos, who is accused of molesting altar boys from 1981 to 1992.
Plaintiffs' attorneys in the Kos case called the woman to testify, saying that her experience indicated a pattern of sexual-abuse coverup by church officials.
The attorney for the diocese denied that the girl's case involved any coverup and said it was handled appropriately.
"We trusted this young man [Mr. Hughes] and had no idea he was molesting our daughter," said the woman, who said the abuse went on for about a year.
She said she discovered the abuse in 1984 after finding more than 100 letters from Mr. Hughes in her daughter's room. Mr. Hughes had come to St. Luke's Catholic Church in Irving as assistant pastor two years earlier.
"We were in a state of shock," said the woman, whose daughter has a lawsuit pending against Mr. Hughes and the diocese. "He was part of the family. He was like a son."
She later learned that Mr. Hughes had picked up her daughter numerous times at home after she and her husband were asleep and taken her to his rectory room, returning her before morning. Mr. Hughes, 26, promised to marry the girl when she turned 18, the woman testified.
She said she met with Thomas Tschoepe, who was then bishop, and Robert Rehkemper, who was then vicar general, the No. 2 official in the diocese. But she said the officials were unresponsive to her concerns, didn't offer to pay for counseling for her daughter and didn't tell her she could file criminal charges.
"The first thing Monsignor Rehkemper said was, `All girls have crushes on parish priests,' " the woman testified. "I said, `It's more than a crush. A priest molested my 13-year-old girl ' "
Monsignor Rehkemper has played a prominent role in the Kos trial, now in its seventh week. State District Judge Anne Ashby threatened to hold him in contempt of court last month for refusing to directly answer questions about his supervision of Mr. Kos.
The 11 plaintiffs in the Kos case are seeking $146.5 million from the diocese and Mr. Kos. He has already been found liable for the abuse because he hasn't responded to the lawsuits.
The diocese maintains that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' conduct.
On Thursday, the woman testified that Mr. Hughes was transferred to St. Patrick's Catholic Church in northeast Dallas in 1984 after she alerted church officials to the abuse, which she said Mr. Hughes acknowledged when she confronted him. But she said she learned later that neither the pastor of St. Luke's nor the pastor of St. Patrick's were told why Mr. Hughes was being transferred.
Mr. Hughes later was appointed to the diocese's clergy personnel board and left the priesthood voluntarily in 1992.
Randal Mathis, the diocese's attorney, said it was "appropriate" for Mr. Hughes not to be fired in 1984 when the abuse allegations arose but would not elaborate because the suit against him is pending.
He pointed out that the girl who was abused filed her suit against Mr. Hughes and the diocese in 1994, 10 years after the abuse was discovered. The woman is now 27 years old.
"You're a little surprised when someone 10 years later comes back and files such a lawsuit," Mr. Mathis said.
The mother said she and her husband and five children became close friends with Mr. Hughes as soon as he came to St. Luke's shortly after graduating from the seminary.
She gave Mr. Hughes a key to the family's house, and he accompanied them on several trips.
She said her daughter's personality changed dramatically after she became involved with Mr. Hughes.
"She was a wonderful, special child," the woman said. "But she became very secretive. She became hateful to us. She would lock herself in her room. Her grades went down. We had no idea what it was." She said her husband, a convert to Catholicism, expressed concerns about the contact between Mr. Hughes and their daughter.
But she said she persuaded him that a priest wouldn't do anything inappropriate.
"Priests were on a pedestal," the woman testified.
As soon as she discovered the love letters, she said, she called an official she knew at Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving.
He met with her and took all the letters, which she said filled two grocery sacks. She has never seen them again and doesn't know if he told other church officials.
In 1990, when Charles Grahmann became bishop, she met with him but said he too was unresponsive.
"We gave up," the woman said. "The letters were gone. We had nothing except a child who was very confused and upset." Earlier Thursday, Mr. Mathis questioned a psychiatrist who examined most of the plaintiffs in the Kos case about the amount of therapy he recommends for them. For some, he has suggested more than 2,000 sessions at a cost of up to $280,000.
Mr. Mathis said other doctors recommended no more than 350 sessions at a cost of no more than $40,000.
By Ed Housewright
Local Catholic officials repeatedly violated state law by not reporting signs of possible sexual abuse by the Rev. Rudolph "Rudy" Kos to authorities, an SMU law professor testified Friday in the civil trial of Mr. Kos and the Dallas diocese.
Church officials exhibited "willful blindness," a legal term, by not acting on information about Mr. Kos seven years before he was ultimately removed, said Frederick Moss, an associate professor of law at Southern Methodist University.
"They could be deemed to have known sexual abuse was going on at the hands of Father Kos, even though a specific victim had not yet come forward," Mr. Moss testified. "Passive good faith is not a defense if there's willful ignorance."
Randal Mathis, the church's attorney, strenuously objected to the professor's legal interpretation.
He argued that because church officials investigated the complaints against Mr. Kos and concluded there was no sexual abuse, they didn't violate the reporting law. A violation is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
"A person has to make a determination whether they think there's cause to believe there's sexual abuse before they can be required to report anything," Mr. Mathis said during a break in the trial.
"I don't think Professor Moss has any basis to render those opinions. " Mr. Moss also testified that parts of the diocese's sexual abuse reporting policy, adopted four months before the trial started, violate state law.
For instance, the policy states that church officials should start an investigation if an allegation of sexual abuse is made against a priest. The law, instead, requires that law enforcement authorities immediately be contacted, Mr. Moss said.
"It requires them to shoot first and ask questions later," testified Mr. Moss, who described himself as a former Catholic.
Mr. Mathis defended the policy.
"In no way does it substitute an investigation of the diocese for an investigation by authorities if it appears called for," he said outside the courtroom.
The 11 plaintiffs in the Kos case are seeking $146.5 million from the diocese and Mr. Kos, who is accused of molesting altar boys from 1981 to 1992. He has already been found liable for the abuse because he hasn't responded to the lawsuits.
The diocese maintains that it should not be held liable for Mr. Kos' conduct.
Mr. Moss listed several points when church officials legally were required to report signs of possible sexual abuse by Mr. Kos to authorities. Some of them were:
*In January 1986, when the person the priest met with, Monsignor Robert Rehkemper, wrote to himself that "there is no evidence that Rudy is either a homosexual or a child abuser - just suspicious because of his behavior. "
* In May 1986, when the Irving pastor, the Rev. Daniel Clayton, wrote a letter to Monsignor Rehkemper, detailing the comings and goings of many boys from Mr. Kos' room.
* In October 1986, when Monsignor Rehkemper warned Mr. Kos under threat of suspension to stop having boys spend the night.
* In December 1991, when the assistant pastor at St. John's Catholic Church in Ennis, where Mr. Kos had become pastor, reported to Monsignor Rehkemper that boys were spending the night in the rectory.
* In April 1992, when a social worker told Monsignor Rehkemper that Mr. Kos appeared to be a "textbook pedophile. " Mr. Kos was removed as pastor of St. John's in September 1992 after the first youth complained of sexual abuse. He was sent to a Catholic treatment center in New Mexico for pedophiles.
During his questioning of the law professor, Mr. Mathis pointed out that church officials relied on the January 1992 advice of a psychiatrist who said he couldn't definitely determine if Mr. Kos was a pedophile.
Mr. Mathis also said a large number of church workers and parents weren't concerned enough about the boys' overnight stays to report Mr. Kos to authorities.
After Mr. Moss testified, the official who succeeded Monsignor Rehkemper as the No. 2 official - or vicar general - took the stand. The testimony by Monsignor Duffy Gardner, who took over several weeks before Mr. Kos was removed in 1992, is to be followed by that of Bishop Charles Grahmann on Monday as the plaintiffs' attorneys wrap up their case.
Under questioning from attorney Windle Turley, Monsignor Gardner said that he noticed that Mr. Kos had "this thing with kids. " "Apparently, he loved kids, as he told everyone," Monsignor Gardner testified. "A great deal of his ministry was focused around ministering to children."
He said that the personnel board, on which he sat, didn't like boys spending the night with Mr. Kos but that members never wrote a letter to Mr. Kos telling him to stop it.
Monsignor Gardner also said that a blue ribbon committee set up in 1984 to investigate sexual abuse never was asked by the bishop to investigate Mr. Kos. He also testified that parishioners in the diocese have never been told about the committee.
They also weren't told about a 1988 policy that prohibits anyone except family members, seminary students or fellow priests from spending the night at the rectory without permission from the diocese headquarters, Monsignor Gardner said.
Also Friday, the father of a young man who committed suicide in 1992 testified - as his wife did last week - that he blames Mr. Kos and the diocese for his son's death.
Pat and Nancy Lemberger believe their son, Jay Lemberger, was sexually abused by Mr. Kos, although he never told them. A psychiatrist who interviewed the Lembergers and Jay's friends has testified that he agrees with them.
"I'm angry," Mr. Lemberger said tearfully. "What he [Mr. Kos] did to these children is just unbelievable.
He said he was "nauseated" that he allowed Mr. Kos to preside at Jay's funeral, eight months before the first youth complained publicly of the sexual abuse.
Mr. Lemberger appeared irritated when Mr. Mathis asked whether he and his wife became suspicious about their son spending the night at the rectory.
"It seems like you're blaming us because we didn't see this," Mr. Lemberger said to Mr. Mathis.
"You're misunderstanding me if that's the impression you get," Mr. Mathis replied.
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