Bishop Denies Allegation He Hushed up Sexual Abuse

The News-Sentinel
November 14, 1991

Bishop John M. D'Arcy denied allegations that he tried to persuade an alleged sex abuse victim to keep quiet about the incident and said the case was handled correctly on his part.

D'Arcy, who is in Washington, D.C., for a bishops conference, issued a statement yesterday in response to a clergy malpractice lawsuit naming him as a defendant. "As soon as it was brought to Bishop D'Arcy's attention, appropriate pastoral, psychological and supervisory remedies, previously established by Bishop D'Arcy, were implemented," the statement read.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court asks for unspecified damages from D'Arcy, former priest James Blume and the Diocese of Fort Wayne- South Bend.

The lawsuit alleges that Blume in 1982 began having sexual relations with the complainant, who was 14, and that the activities continued over a three- year period.

In the spring of 1987, when the complainant was a student in a seminary in Boston, he told a priest about the incidents and was encouraged to talk to D'Arcy.

In January 1989, the complainant told D'Arcy of the incidents. The lawsuit claims D'Arcy discouraged him from revealing them to anyone outside the church. But D'Arcy said in the statement: "No effort was ever made by anyone to persuade the individual involved from any action he might wish to take."

D'Arcy said the man and Blume, who now lives in Ohio, had been given extended psychological help.

D'Arcy said that he refused Blume's request after therapy to return to the ministry, and that he sought and received Blume's resignation from the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1989.

The plaintiff in the case is asking for an unspecified amount of money from Blume, D'Arcy and the diocese for sexual assault and battery, negligence, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and clergy malpractice.

Stephen J. Lyons, a Boston attorney representing the plaintiff, said yesterday that this may be the first clergy malpractice lawsuit in Indiana. Lyons and Fort Wayne attorney Richard Steele said 12 to 15 appellate cases nationwide have raised questions of clergy malpractice.


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