Lawsuit: Catholic church suppressed abuse reports in Georgia

The Associated Press

December 20, 2018

By Kate Brumback

Catholic church officials suppressed reports of abuse by a priest in northwest Georgia and failed to inform the community of the danger he posed, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed by a man identified under a pseudonym, Phillip Doe, says he was an altar boy at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dalton from age 12 to 15 and that he was sexually molested by priest John Douglas Edwards from 1976 to 1978.

The lawsuit filed in Cobb County Superior Court says the failure by the Archdiocese of Atlanta to report the alleged sexual abuse is a public nuisance because it endangered the public. It was filed against the archdiocese, Saint Joseph’s and Archbishop of Atlanta Wilton Gregory, who has presided over the archdiocese since 2005.

The archdiocese had not received the lawsuit Thursday and, therefore, could not comment, spokeswoman Paula Grant said in an email. She added that the archdiocese abhors every instance of abuse and offers support to survivors.

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