Memphis Diocese Accused of Covering up Sex Abuse Case

The Associated Press, carried in Tennessean
September 29, 2006

Memphis — The Catholic Diocese of Memphis is accused in a lawsuit filed Thursday of failing to protect a young girl who was sexually abused by a priest in the late 1990s.

The lawsuit is the second filed by a Florida law firm that says it represents several victims of abuse by priests in Memphis. The firm has said other lawsuits may be filed.

The latest suit was filed on behalf of a 21-year-old woman identified as Jane Doe No. 2. It alleges that she was abused by a Catholic priest, Edward Nguyen, in Memphis between 1997 and 1999.

The lawsuit, filed by Jeffrey Herman of the Herman & Mermelstein law firm of Miami, accuses the Memphis diocese of failing to protect Jane Doe No. 2 from a known child abuser.

"The diocese actively took steps to conceal the abuse in order to protect Father Nguyen," says the suit, which seeks $10 million in damages.

The Florida firm filed similar state court lawsuits in Memphis two weeks ago on behalf of plaintiffs identified as Jane Doe and John Doe.

Jane Doe, 23, contends she was molested by Nguyen in Memphis between 1994 and 1999.

Nguyen worked in several parishes in the diocese and was most recently chaplain of St. Peter Villa, a long-term nursing facility in Memphis. The diocese said he has been relieved of duty pending an investigation by a church review board.

John Doe, 37, contends he was molested as a teenager by Daniel DuPree, a former priest who left the Memphis diocese in 1992.


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