Dec. 27, 2019
By Jay Tokasz
A Jesuit priest who previously had not been linked to a sex abuse claim is among several people accused in recently filed lawsuits of molesting children, along with an unnamed teacher at a South Buffalo Catholic school, an unnamed doctor at a home for orphaned and runaway girls, and a former Catholic priest who pleaded guilty in 1986 to a misdemeanor charge of first-degree attempted sexual abuse.
A male plaintiff who was raised in Cornwall, a town in Orange County, alleged that the Rev. Charles W. Lehmkuhl molested him from the time he was 7 years old in 1973 until 1983, when he was 17. The plaintiff, who is represented by attorney Nicholas J. Shemik, named Canisius College as defendant. Neither the Buffalo Diocese, nor the Society of Jesus, Lehmkuhl’s priestly order, were named as defendants.
Lehmkuhl taught at Canisius from 1956 to 1987. He died in 1995.
The lawsuit states that Lehmkuhl was a friend of the plaintiff’s family and served as a father figure and spiritual leader to the plaintiff. The plaintiff accompanied Lehmkuhl on a trip to Canisius College in 1983, according to the lawsuit, which accuses the college of failing to protect the plaintiff from sexual assaults.
Lehmkuhl was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1949 and served as prefect of discipline at Xavier High School in New York City before arriving at Canisius College, where he taught religious studies and psychology.
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