Lawsuit Claims Rape by Priest
Woman Sues Diocese for Incident in 2002

By Lawrence Buser
Commercial Appeal
August 18, 2007

A 33-year-old Memphis woman has filed suit against the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, claiming that a priest sexually molested and raped her.

The Circuit Court suit filed by "Jane Doe 4" also contends that the diocese had previous complaints of inappropriate sexual conduct by Rev. Gregory Salata but did nothing to protect her or other church members.

The woman was a high school senior in 1992 when she went to Salata for counseling and advice, but in 2002 the priest used her trust and vulnerability to sexually molest and then rape her, the suit said.

The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Salata has been at St. Louis Church, St. Paul the Apostle Church, St. Ann Church in Bartlett and last year was assigned to Campus Ministry at the University of Memphis.

Diocese spokesman Rev. John Geaney said Friday that Salata is no longer at the campus and has been removed from ministry, which means he can perform no priestly functions.

"We always take whatever allegations that are made very seriously and the process for dealing with these situations goes on," Geaney said.

Two months ago the diocese reached undisclosed financial settlements with three Vietnamese-American women who said Rev. Joseph Nguyen had sexually abused them from 1994 to 1999. Nguyen is no longer involved in any ministries and has no contact with children or parishioners.

The diocese said the settlement is not an admission of liability.


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