Man sues Allentown diocese, Northampton church and school, claiming priest molested him when he was 11

Morning Call

July 23, 2020

By Laurie Mason Schroeder

A 57-year-old Pennsylvania man who claims that he was molested by a Catholic priest from a Northampton church starting when he was 11 years old, has filed a lawsuit, one of numerous claims recently made under a potential loophole in the statute of limitations for civil cases involving sexual abuse.

The plaintiff, identified as Joe Doe in the suit filed Wednesday in Lehigh County Court, claims that he was sexually abused in the 1970s and early 1980s by the Rev. Thomas Kerestus, who served at Our Lady of Hungary Roman Catholic Church, now called Queenship of Mary Roman Catholic Church.

Also named in the suit are Our Lady of Hungary Catholic School in Northampton, which later became Good Shepherd Catholic School, and the Diocese of Allentown.

Kerestus, who died in 2014, was one of about 300 clergy members identified in a 2018 statewide grand jury report on predator priests.

In the suit, Doe claims that Kerestus befriended his family after his parents divorced and took him on overnight trips to Kerestus’ parents’ Tamaqua home, the parish rectory and the Jersey Shore. During the trips, Doe said in the suit, Kerestus sexually assaulted him.

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