Lawsuit Alleges Abuse by Priest Who Died in 2003

The Associated Press, carried in Belleville News-Democrat [St. Louis MO]
June 23, 2005

ST. LOUIS - A St. Louis-area man has filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Raymond Burke and a dead priest, claiming the church covered up sexual abuse by the priest.

The lawsuit, filed anonymously Wednesday, alleges that the Rev. Thomas Cooper sexually abused the boy while he attended St. Mary Magdalen parish in south St. Louis.

So far, 40 current or former clergy or members of religious orders in the archdiocese have been sued or otherwise identified as sexually abusing children, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said.

It is the first time that Cooper has been sued or accused of abuse, according to SNAP.

Cooper died in 2003, archdiocesan spokesman Jamie Allman said. Allman would not comment on any allegations in the lawsuit, and would not provide information about where Cooper worked.

The lawsuit says Cooper sexually abused the boy from 1970 to 1971 when the boy was 12 or 13.

According to SNAP, Cooper was ordained in 1955 and retired in 1993. He worked in local parishes in Webster Groves, Hazelwood, St. Louis, University City and Jennings, SNAP said.