September 25, 2020
By Yuri Kageyama
A woman has filed a suit against the Roman Catholic Church in Japan alleging that a priest raped her four decades ago, as the church’s unfolding worldwide sexual abuse crisis gradually reaches Japan.
The civil lawsuit, filed this week in Sendai District Court, seeks 56.1 million yen ($534,000) in damages. It accuses a priest, who has not been charged or penalized, as well as a bishop who counseled the woman in recent years about the alleged abuse.
The suit, which also accuses the Diocese of Sendai in northeastern Japan, says the church refused to take the complaints seriously, causing psychological pain.
“I have filed this lawsuit to claim back the dignity I have lost, and to try to end this serious crime that is a violation of humanity,” said Harumi Suzuki, who has gone public with her name.
She said she lived through “more than 40 years of hell,” but wants to raise her voice for other abuse survivors.
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