Lawsuit Claims Priest Induced Teen into Illicit Affair
By Jay Warren
WCPO [Cincinnati OH]
December 1, 2004
On Tuesday a woman filed a civil suit against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
In that suit she claims that in 1965 a young priest named Norman Heil induced her into an illicit sexual relationship.
She says he got her pregnant and the the church pressured her to give up her child and never reveal who the father was.
The suit alleges that it happened she was a teenager, 16-years-old, the 26 year-old Norman Heil lead the youth group she was in.
And it was after those meetings, she says, that the line between priest and parishioner shattered.
The youth group meetings were held at St. John the Evangelist in Deer Park.
In the suit she claims that after those meetings he would give her rides home.
In the lawsuit it states, "After the fourth or fifth time, Father Heil professed his love to Ms. Doe and induced her to enter into a sexual relationship."
She says when the church found out she was pregnant they sent her away.
In the lawsuit the plaintiff also stated that the priest allegedly took her confession over having pre-marital sex, and absolved her.
"This has been a lifetime of guilt, if you will, and anxiety and stress as to how to deal with what she felt inside," said her attorney, Marc Mezibov.
Mezibov says his client was then pressured to give up her child and never reveal the child's true parentage.
"She was told prior to the birth of her child that it was in her interest, her child's interest, not only in terms of material well being but spiritual well being -- and for both here and the hereafter," said Mezibov.
9News contacted the Archdiocese on Wednesday, whose spokesperson declined to go on camera but did issue a statement saying:
"Any accusations of priestly misbehavior are deeply disturbing."
They went on to say that this alleged affair went on nearly 40-years ago and that, "We don't have any records relating to this."
"Can they go right to a file and find our client's name and the problem, I don't know?," said Mezibov, the woman's attorney. "Do we have documents to establish responsibility for what happened? Yes, we do."
Those documents, say attorneys, include a hand-written letter from Norman Heil professing his love on a Bismark, North Dakota parish's letterhead.
And a consent form for medical care from Catholic Charities. But why wait until now?
"That we're here at all is surprising in light of the burden which the Archdiocese placed on this young and vulnerable person," said her attorney Marc Mezibov.
You may remember that the Archdiocese settled with the Hamilton County prosecutor over other abuse cases.
Part of that settlement included the creation of a $3 million fund for victims.
This is again, a civil suit which stands alone.
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