Sex abuse suits against diocese come before judge

The State

The Charlotte Observer
May 31, 2014

Mecklenburg Superior Court Judge Robert Bell plans to rule by June 20 on whether to throw out or clear for possible trial two civil cases against the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte that center on alleged sexual abuse of children by two priests decades ago.

On Friday, attorneys for the diocese asked that the judge dismiss the lawsuits — brought on behalf of four alleged victims — because those bringing them missed the window that state law allows for such cases to be filed.

The alleged incidents of abuse by the Revs. Joseph Kelleher and Richard Farwell happened in the 1970s and 1980s in Charlotte, Albemarle and Salisbury. The lawsuits against the diocese were filed in 2011 and 2012.

“The plaintiffs conducted no investigation (of what happened) for decades,” said Josh Davey, one of two lawyers representing the diocese. “And the diocese didn’t do anything to cause delay (of the filing of the lawsuits).”

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