Accused Priest Ordered to Appear for Deposition

By Beth Miller
News Journal
May 15, 2007

Wilmington — A Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the Rev. James W. O'Neill to appear for deposition by July 13 and set an October 2008 trial date for the former Salesianum School principal in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by a former student.

O'Neill was sued by Eric Eden of Wilmington, who alleges the priest abused him twice a week from 1976 to 1985. The allegations would have been barred by the state's two-year civil statute of limitations, but Superior Court Judge Calvin L. Scott Jr. ruled in December that the case could go to trial because of Eden's claim that he had repressed his memories of the incidents.

After O'Neill missed a scheduled May 8 deposition with Eden's attorneys, the Rev. Joseph G. Morrissey, provincial of O'Neill's order — the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales — explained in a May 10 letter that O'Neill was "on assignment" in the Diocese of Upington-Keimos in South Africa, filling in for a priest who had to leave the field to tend to his dying brother. O'Neill was ministering in the priest's absence and was expected back in the country by July 1, Morrissey wrote.

O'Neill, 67, is executive director of the Oblates' Washington-based Chablais Mission Fund and travels frequently to evaluate the needs of various missions.

Read complete coverage Wednesday in The News Journal and at

Contact Beth Miller at 324-2784 or


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