Man Sues Archdiocese, Alleges Sex Abuse in '82

By William C. Lhotka
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
June 22, 2006

A man who said he now remembers being sexually abused by a priest in 1982 filed a damage suit Wednesday against the Archdiocese of St. Louis. It comes eight days after the Missouri Supreme Court made it easier for so-called repressed memory cases to move forward.

The suit in St. Louis County Circuit Court by "John Doe AJ" accuses the Rev. John Roger McDonough, who died in 1985.

Susan Carlson, the plaintiff's attorney, said at a press conference Wednesday with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests that the church knew or should have known that McDonough posed a danger to children. Her client first remembered the abuse about 18 months ago, she told a reporter.

In the precedent-setting decision last week, the high court said a man claiming a repressed memory of sexual abuse 30 years ago at Chaminade College Preparatory School is entitled to proceed with a suit against Chaminade, the Marianist religious order, and a priest and brother, whom he accused of molesting him in the mid-'70s.

Courts had grappled with the issues of reconciling a plaintiff's repressed memory - a claim that the brain refused to acknowledge a traumatic event until much later - and statutes of limitation that protect a defendant's right to confront accusers while recollections are fresh and evidence is readily available.

In Wednesday's suit, the man alleged that he was sexually abused by McDonough on a swim outing to Kenrick Seminary. The plaintiff, then 11 or 12, was assaulted in a locker room, Carlson said.

McDonough was assigned at the time to Little Flower parish in Richmond Heights, where the victim was an altar boy, the suit said.

In a statement, the archdiocese said it doesn't comment on pending litigation. Besides Little Flower from 1981 to 1983, McDonough also served at the following parishes: St. Pius V, 1965 to 1968; St. Jerome, 1968 to 1976; All Saints, 1976 to 1978; Mary Queen of Peace, 1978 to 1981; and St. Timothy, 1983 to 1985. He was also a campus minister at Florissant Valley Community College and a campus minister at Washington University Medical School.


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