N.J. Woman Sues, Claiming Sexual Assault by Priest

The Associated Press, carried in Asbury Park Press
January 29, 2006

ORLANDO, Fla. — A woman has sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Orlando for $5 million, alleging that a priest who transferred from New Jersey to Florida sexually assaulted her.

The woman, identified in court papers as "Jane Doe," claims the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak broke into her house in Lakeland in October 2004 and overpowered her, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Orlando. She said she told religious officials that Gorak was harassing and stalking her, but they allegedly ignored her pleas for help.

Gorak was arrested last year on charges of burglary with an assault, false imprisonment, aggravated stalking and battery.

The woman's attorney, Adam Horowitz of Miami, said Gorak's superiors in New Jersey should have known and warned others that Gorak, 49, was a potential problem when it let him work in Florida in 2004. Police reports obtained by Horowitz show that in 2001 a female parishioner in Newark also accused Gorak of stalking.

But James Goodness, a spokesman for the Newark archdiocese, and Carol Brinati, a spokeswoman for the Orlando diocese, both said the dioceses knew of no previous complaints about Gorak. Brinati said the diocese removed Gorak when allegations of wrongdoing surfaced.

Jane Doe first met Gorak in New Jersey, where he became a spiritual adviser to her and her husband, the suit alleges. The couple moved to Florida shortly after Gorak was transferred to Resurrection Church in Lakeland in 2004.

Soon after, Gorak pestered the woman, frequently showing up for unannounced visits, the suit alleges. On Oct. 12, 2004, Gorak kicked in the door of her house and sexually assaulted her, the suit claims.

Gorak was arrested in May and remains in the Polk County Jail. The woman has since moved back to New Jersey.


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