Suit: 24 Years Later, Man Recalls Abuse by Priest

By Jim Salter
The Associated Press, carried in The Kansas City Star
June 21, 2006

ST. LOUIS - A man has filed a lawsuit in St. Louis County claiming he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest more than two decades ago, a memory he had repressed until recently.

The suit announced Wednesday comes a week after a Missouri Supreme Court ruling allowing another repressed memory case against two clerics to move forward.

The man's name in the latest suit was not released. Details were announced by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). The suit seeks unspecified damages and was filed against the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

"No child should ever be subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of an adult, from a person in a position of trust, such as a priest," the man, now in his mid-30s, said in a statement released by SNAP. "The abuse perpetrated upon me is something my family and I will live with for the rest of my life."

The man alleges he was sexually abused in 1982, when he was an altar boy, by the Rev. John Roger McDonough, who died in 1985. McDonough was assigned to Little Flower Parish in the St. Louis suburb Richmond Heights at the time.

SNAP outreach director Barbara Dorris said the victim was 12 or 13 at the time, with the abuse allegedly occurring in a locker room during a swimming party at Kenrick Seminary.

The man regained his memory of the abuse about a year and a half ago, SNAP national director David Clohessy said.

The lawsuit named the archdiocese because it knew, or should have known, of McDonough's activities but failed to protect the victim, Clohessy said.

"I'm filing this lawsuit today because I want to hold the church responsible for the evil that they allowed to occur," the man's statement read.

A statement from the archdiocese said it does not comment on pending litigation. It did provide a list of McDonough's St. Louis-area pastoral and campus ministry assignments, which included St. Pius V Parish in St. Louis (1965 to 1968); St. Jerome Parish and Florissant Valley Community College (1968 to 1976); All Saints Parish in University City and Washington University School of Medicine (1976 to 1978); Queen of Peace Parish in Webster Groves (1978 to 1981); Little Flower Parish (1981 to 1983); and St. Timothy Parish in Affton (1983 to 1985).

The archdiocese urged anyone who feels they were harmed by McDonough to contact its Office of Child and Youth Protection at 314-633-2279.

In its ruling on June 13, the state Supreme Court allowed a suit by Michael Powel, who contends he was sexually abused by two instructors while attending Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis County from 1973 to 1975. Powel claims he did not recall the abuse until 2000, when he began receiving treatment for brain cancer.

"I think the court is saying two things: Repressed memories do happen, and number two, juries should decide if the victim came forward too late," Clohessy said.


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