Attorney Says Priest Molested 10 Boys

By Tom Gibb
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania)
February 3, 1994

Attorney Richard Serbin already had rocked the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese by claiming a former local priest had repeatedly molested his client.

Yesterday, he rocked it again by charging that the priest had sex with 10 other boys and that other priests in the diocese also were sexually involved with children.

Serbin made the charges in Blair County Common Pleas Court as he opened a civil suit against the Rev. Francis Luddy, 52. Serbin's client claims that Luddy molested him for six years, starting in 1978, when the youth was 11 years old.

What the molestation produced, Serbin said, was an emotionally scarred teen-ager who became a prostitute and did stints in a prison and a mental hospital.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, also names top officials in the diocese who allegedly ignored warnings of the molestation.

Serbin, who said Luddy also molested his client's two brothers, vowed that his expanded allegations would be spelled out as the trial continues. Judge Hiram Carpenter has predicted the trial could last for two months.

"He was molesting the children of this community for years," Serbin charged. "It dates back to 1968, the second year of his priesthood."

Attorneys for Luddy and the church countered that his accuser, now 26, came from an abusive family and had major behavioral problems before he met Luddy -- problems that led to a criminal record and prison after his family moved from Altoona to the Akron, Ohio, area a dozen years ago.

Luddy's lawyer, Edward Glass of Johnstown, portrayed the plaintiff as an "opportunist, a scam artist" who tried to blame his criminal problems on abuse.

Glass conceded that Luddy was a pedophile who had sex with the plaintiff's older brother -- but never molested the plaintiff -- and was sent in 1987 to a New Mexico center for priests with sexual problems.

"Father Luddy said, 'I have sinned . ... I had an illegal, unholy and criminal affair (with the plaintiff's older brother)," Glass said.


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