'Repressed Memory' Abuse Case Filed against St. Louis Archdiocese

By William C. Lhotka
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
June 21, 2006

A man who says he now remembers that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was an altar boy in 1982 filed a civil suit today against the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and is the first in Missouri in the wake of a state supreme court ruling last week allowing so-called "repressed memory" cases to go forward.

The alleged perpetrator was the late Rev. John Roger McDonough, who died in 1985. He was assigned to Little Flower church in Richmond Heights in 1982 when the alleged abuse took place.

Susan Carlson, the lawyer for the plaintiff -- identified only as John Doe AJ in court documents -- said the boy, then 11 or 12, was at a swimming party at Kendrick Seminary that Father McDonough had organized for parish altar boys when McDonough abused him in a locker room.

Carlson and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests announced the civil suit at a press conference in front of the courthouse in Clayton. Carlson told the Post-Dispatch the man regained his memory of the abuse about 18 months ago.

The suit in St. Louis County Circuit Court names the Archdiocese of St. Louis as defendant. The theory, Carlson said, is that the church knew or should have known of McDonough's proclivity for young boys and did nothing to protect the victim from him.

SNAP Outreach Coordinators Barbara Dorris urged any other victims of McDonough, or any other priest to come forward..


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