Diocese of Venice faces second suit alleging priest sexually assaulted female parishioners

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Oct. 29, 2019

By Earle Kimel

The Diocese of Venice is facing its second $15 million suit this month, alleging that the Rev. Nicholas McLoughlin, 77, formerly of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park, sexually assaulted a female parishioner.

Both suits were filed in the 12th Judicial Circuit by Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Adam Horowitz.

The latest suit, filed on Oct.25 is on behalf of a plaintiff identified only as J.H. and alleges that on or about Sept. 2017, J.H. had attended Saturday afternoon mass with a female friend at Our Lady of Grace and wanted to seek a special blessing on her upcoming vows with the Franciscan Religious Order.

According to the suit, as the two women approached McLoughlin, “he suddenly grabbed J.H.’s head with one of his hands and forcefully kissed her on the lips and held her head against his lips so she couldn’t pull away.”

The suit closely mirrors but predates the incident from the Oct. 2 lawsuit filed by Horowitz, where, on April 7, 2018, the plaintiff, identified as L.B., was at the church for confession, when — after she told him she had a headache from falling off a horse — he allegedly put his thumb on her forehead and, with his other hand, grabbed her right breast.

L.B. alleged he later groped both breasts and kissed her and when asked if he was preventing her from leaving, she answered yes.

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