Court Rejects Appeal of Ex-Altar Boy Who Claimed Abuse

Associated Press, carried in Des Moines Register
April 14, 2007

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday rejected the appeal of a former altar boy who claimed he was abused by a priest during the 1960s.

The man filed the lawsuit against the Dubuque Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church claiming the now-deceased priest abused him on several occasions between 1966 and 1969 at the rectory and school at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Ryan.

His lawsuit was dismissed by a district judge in Dubuque County after it was found that the man failed to provide evidence to support his claims.

The man claimed that his memory of the abuse faded when he stopped attending St. Patrick's. His memory of the abuse returned in 2002 after he heard about a cardinal who was arrested for abuse in Florida.

The man contended in the lawsuit, filed in 2004, that the diocese was responsible because it employed the Rev. Nicholas Cigrand, an assistant pastor at the church at the time the alleged abuse occurred. Cigrand died in 1976.

The man filed claims of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

The diocese filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming Cigrand was never an employee of the diocese, but was an employee of the church, which was a separate legal entity.

Cigrand was considered an independent contract of the diocese, receiving a salary from the church, the diocese said in court records.

The high court ruled that the man would have had to prove that Cigrand was employed by the diocese and that church officials knew of the abuse. He failed to prove either, the court said.


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