E. Toledoan Alleges Priest Abused Him

Toledo Blade
September 24, 2003

A 44-year-old East Toledo man filed a lawsuit yesterday claiming that a priest sexually abused him three decades ago in a South Toledo church.

Eugene A. Parra of 663 Elmore St. alleges in the suit filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court that he was abused by Father Miller, first name unknown, from age 8 until he was 14, sometime between 1967 and 1973. "The sexual contact by [Father Miller] occurred during this time on numerous occasions on a regular basis at the SS. Peter and Paul Church and/or its rectory," the lawsuit contends.

The suit, which also names the Toledo diocese and unknown conspirators, says Mr. Parra grew up in a devout Catholic family and regularly attended Mass with his grandmother at SS. Peter and Paul Church in Toledo's Old South End.

It alleges that Father Miller had the child touch him "in erogenous zones" and that the abuse caused severe emotional distress and psychological injuries for Mr. Parra.

Diocesan officials knew or should have known about Father Miller's crimes and failed to inform civil authorities or other potential victims, the lawsuit alleges, instead transferring the priest to another parish once allegations arose.

It cites several reasons that the statute of limitations should not apply in Mr. Parra's case, including an alleged "pattern of secrecy" by the diocese in covering up sexual crimes by priests and employees, and because "the spiritual power and position" of Father Miller and the Roman Catholic Church caused the victim to live in fear and under coercion for decades.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $25,000.

A spokesman for the Toledo diocese said yesterday officials had not received a copy of the lawsuit and therefore could not comment.

Mr. Parra could not be reached yesterday.

The lawsuit, assigned to Judge Christiansen, is the 14th filed in common pleas court against the Toledo diocese in the last 14 months.


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