Priest Abused Boy, Lawsuit Claims
Action Filed against Pastor of Pottstown Church. Lawyer Says Archdiocese, Cardinal, Principal Covered up Touching Incidents

By Pervaiz Shallwani
The Morning Call [Pennsylvania]
April 20, 2006

A lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of a 13-year-old boy says he was sexually abused by a Montgomery County priest repeatedly over three years, most recently in early 2005.

The suit accuses the Rev. Edward Kuczynski of inappropriately touching the boy while he was a student at St. Peter's School in Pottstown. It also names the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali and school Principal Joyce Babin as defendants and accuses them of covering up the abuse.

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Kuczynski is pastor of St. Peter's Church in Pottstown.

Filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, the suit is the latest effort by lawyer Jay Abramowitch of Wyomissing, Berks County, to uncover sexual abuse by priests in Pennsylvania. In the past two years, he and lawyer Richard Serbin of Altoona have filed more than 200 suits against the archdiocese, the Allentown Diocese and other dioceses in the state.

"Rigali instituted these strict codes of conduct to protect children, and obviously that was just a subterfuge," Abramowitch said. "I think this suit demonstrates that these so-called codes of conduct, they are just looking the other way."

The child and his mother are identified in the suit only as John and Jane Doe, both from Montgomery County. The suit seeks damages of at least $50,000 on each of a dozen counts.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell issued a statement saying the archdiocese had not seen the lawsuit but learned that Pottstown police had received a complaint against Kuczynski on April 20, 2005.

She said the police told the archdiocese the complaint was unfounded and in June 2005, at Kuczynski's request, provided a letter stating that the allegations of sexual abuse against him were "not credible."

Calls to the Pottstown Police Department were not returned Wednesday, and officials in the Montgomery County district attorney's office said they were unaware of the case.

"Father Kuczynski is a priest in good standing in the archdiocese," the archdiocese's statement says. "Prior to this matter, we have no knowledge of any allegation involving the sexual abuse of a minor by him.

"We cooperated fully with authorities in this investigation and are confident that the police conducted a thorough and just investigation."

Abramowitch said he couldn't comment on Unlike Abramowitch's other cases, the statute to file criminal charges has not expired in this case.

A staff member at the St. Peter's Church rectory said Kuczynski was out of the office Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

Reached at her office, Babin said she didn't know about the lawsuit or allegations. "I have nothing to say about it," she said. "I know nothing about it."


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