Harrisburg Diocese fights for dismissal of lawsuit by man who says Catholic priests raped him in the 1960s

Patriot News

Sept. 25, 2019

By Matt Miller

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is pressing hard for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a man who claims two priests repeatedly raped him when he was an altar boy more than 50 years ago.

The attorneys for that man, who now lives in Missouri, are fighting just as hard to keep the case on track for a trial in Dauphin County Court.

The legal battle is just the latest to erupt since a state grand jury last year released a scathing report on child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania.

That report has prompted apologies by bishops and church leaders all the way up to Pope Francis. It also led Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese to release the names of 71 people in the diocese, including priests, who were accused of sexual improprieties.

The suit by the Missouri man, whose name is being withheld by PennLive because he claims to be the victim of sex crimes, also was triggered by the grand jury report. Before its release, he didn’t realize there was a decades-long “conspiracy” among diocese leaders to shield predator priests, the man contends in his suit.

The man, now 67, claims he was sexually assaulted and repeatedly sodomized by two now-dead priests, Father Raymond Daugherty and Father Walter Sempko, at Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in the early 1960s.

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