Wyoming Man Sues Priest Alleging Abuse

Associated Press, carried in Billings Gazette [Jefferson MO]
October 5, 2005

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Nebraska lawsuit filed by a Wyoming man accuses a Missouri priest of sexually abusing a student at a Roman Catholic boy's home 20 years ago.

Darren Boudreau, 34, of Cheyenne, Wyo., claims in the lawsuit that he was "emotionally and mentally scarred for life" because of the alleged abuse by the Rev. Richard Colbert from approximately 1985 to 1989 at Father Flanagan's Girls and Boys Town in Omaha, Neb.

Colbert has served at St. Anne's parish in Warsaw, Mo., since 1999 and has worked at numerous other churches, many of which also are in the Jefferson City diocese. He was at a conference Tuesday and was unavailable for comment, said St. Anne's secretary Jeanne Holloway.

Diocese of Jefferson City spokesman Mark Saucier said church officials were unaware of the lawsuit until Tuesday and had not yet seen it. The lawsuit was filed Sept. 26 in Douglas County (Neb.) District Court, but it was promoted Tuesday by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The lawsuit claims Colbert developed "unhealthy, psychologically dependent relationships" with male students "to recruit them for sex." It also names Girls and Boys Town as a defendant, claiming it knew - or should have known - what Colbert was doing and should have better supervised him. Although Boudreau is the only defendant, the lawsuit claims Colbert also molested other unnamed students.

"We will continue our standard of thoroughly investigating allegations of any activity that would harm a child," said the Rev. Steven Boes, executive director of Father Flanagan's Girls and Boys Town. "Simply put, Girls and Boys Town does not tolerate abuse of children."

The suit says Boudreau suffered from a mental disorder that prevented him from suing until now.

The Jefferson City diocese said Colbert had served from 1977-1979 in Sedalia, from 1988-1992 in Pilot Grove and from 1993-1995 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Jefferson City before being assigned to a Fayette parish in 1995 and Warsaw in 1999.

The SNAP victims advocacy group said Colbert also had worked at the Society of the Precious Blood seminary in Liberty, as well as in Linton, N.D., and Collegeville, Minn., in the 1970s before going to Nebraska City, Neb., and then to Omaha in the early 1980s.


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