Retiree Files Suit against Diocese

By Bill Zajac
[Springfield MA] Republican
December 26, 2003

Recently retired Springfield Personnel Director Joseph Dougherty has filed a suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield that accuses a priest from Palmer of sexually abusing him.

Dougherty accuses Andre A. Corbin Jr. of abusing him when he was a minor, according to a suit filed last week in Hampden Superior Court. It is unclear whether Corbin, who once served in the Raleigh, N.C., diocese, had any relationship with the Springfield diocese.

Dougherty does not state in the suit where or when the alleged abuse occurred. Springfield lawyer Raipher D. Pellegrino, who represents Dougherty, said neither he nor his client would comment.

Corbin had no comment when contacted at his Palmer home.

The Most Rev. Joseph F. Maguire, bishop emeritus of the Springfield Diocese, is named as a defendant in the suit as well as Corbin and the Springfield diocese. The suit states that Maguire knew Corbin had abused other boys before Corbin molested Dougherty. Church officials released a statement saying that Corbin never had any formal relationship with the Springfield diocese.

"It would seem unfair to hold this diocese responsible for a priest neither from here nor ever given permission to function here as a priest," the diocesan statement read.

Dougherty was one of the city officials who took early retirement Dec. 19.

Pellegrino also filed a suit on behalf of Jonathon W. Tuckey, a Springfield man, who accuses the Revs. John D. Koonz and Edward M. Kennedy of sexually abusing him when he was a minor. Pellegrino said neither he nor his client would comment.

Diocesan officials were aware of the legal action, the diocese said through its spokesman Mark E. Dupont.

Koonz and Kennedy are no longer active in ministry. Koonz was removed from ministry last year after accusations of child sexual abuse by three men were found to be credible by the diocese's Misconduct Commission.

Kennedy retired in 2002 as Dupre was going to remove him from all ministry because of credible accusations of abuse against him, Dupre said. Koonz and Kennedy can no longer present themselves publicly as priests.

"With regard to Mr. Tuckey's claims, the Diocese has already agreed to provide some assistance to him," the statement read.

Dougherty's complaint also was heard by the Misconduct Commission.

Corbin was ordained in Palmer in 1961 by the Most Rev. Vincent S. Waters, then the bishop of the Raleigh, N.C., diocese, and assigned to work in that diocese. The Raleigh diocese was divided in 1972 and Corbin became a part of the Diocese of Charlotte.

The two suits brings to about 30 the number of clergy sexual abuse suits filed against the Springfield diocese in the past two years.


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