Sexual Assault Complaint Launched against Catholic Priest

November 14, 2006

Memphis - A federal complaint was filed Monday alleging sexual abuse at the hands of a Memphis Catholic Priest. A young woman, only identified as Jane Doe No. 3 in the complaint, is seeking $10 million dollars in damages, claiming Father Joseph Nguyen molested her while he was a priest at Blessed Sacrament Church.

The complaint claims Father Nguyen counseled the girl in 1996 after the death of her younger brother. It goes on to claim Father Nguyen sexually assaulted the girl several times between 1997 and 1999, "at her home, as well as in the confession room of Blessed Sacrament Church."

Two other victims have already come forward, accusing Father Nguyen of abuse. A spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Memphis says Father Nguyen has been relieved of his "priestly duties." The spokesperson also says Nguyen no longer has contact with children or any other parishioners. The spokesperson would not say whether Nguyen is still in Memphis.

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis has a board set up to look into allegations of abuse against priests. It's made up of lawyers, psychologists and experts in the law. Members of the group SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say church leaders are not as transparent as they should be in the process. Church leaders say they cooperate fully with the authorities and take each and every complaint seriously.


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