Sexual Assault Suit Names Diocese, 4 Priests

By Kim Trent
Detroit News
May 24, 1994

[This article has been redacted by to reflect the fact that the complainant recanted his allegations against two of the priests ([Redacted 2] and [Redacted 3]), but let stand his allegations against two others (Berthiume and Foisy). We have also redacted the complainant's name [Redacted 1], and the name of the parish where [Redacted 2] worked.]

An Ohio man is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit and four priests, claiming the men sexually assaulted him more than 25 years ago.

The accuser, [Redacted 1], recalled repressed memories of the episodes during a traumatic family event last October, his attorney said.

Named in the Wayne Circuit Court lawsuit are the Revs. Gary Berthiume, Leonard R. Foisy, [Redacted 3] and [Redacted 2]. They are accused of repeatedly raping and fondling [Redacted 1] over four years in the 1960s.

[Redacted 2], pastor of [Redacted], denies the charges.

"I've known his family for years," the priest said in a written statement. "I'm not bitter; I'm concerned. Certainly, I'm unhappy, but I'm not going to judge the young man."

The other three priests no longer live in Michigan and could not be reached for comment.

But in an unrelated 1977 case, Berthiume pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a then-14-year-old boy and served six months in jail.

At the time of the alleged assaults on [Redacted 1], Foisy was an administrator at St. John's Seminary in Plymouth. [Redacted 3], Berthiume and [Redacted 2] were in training for the priesthood there. And [Redacted 1] went to a nearby church.

Archdiocesan officials said the church has been investigating the allegations for several months.

"The process has yet to identify information that would qualify these allegations as credible or that would indicate the need for intervention by the archdiocese," spokesman Ned McGrath said.

Repressed memory is a controversial concept in which people say they recall traumatic past events.

In the Detroit case, [Redacted 1] claims he repressed the memories of the assaults when he was between the ages of 14 and 18.

"The alleged sexual acts were so traumatic to him that he repressed them totally," said his attorney, Robert Greenstein. "When it was over, he had no memory of it."

[Redacted 1]'s memories were not triggered or coached by hypnosis or mental therapy, the attorney said. He would not elaborate on the family event that triggered the memories.


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