Liberatore Suit Settled

By Erin Nissley
November 8, 2007

The Diocese of Scranton will pay $3 million to a man who brought a federal civil suit claiming he was sexually abused by a priest as a teen and that the Catholic Church did nothing about it.

The man, identified as "John Doe" in court filings, claims former priest Albert M. Liberatore Jr. sexually abused him from 1999 to 2002, beginning when the plaintiff was 14.

Mr. Liberatore, now 42, was pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Duryea when the abuse occurred. He pleaded guilty in 2005 in Luzerne County and New York to sexually abusing the victim and was sentenced to 10 years' probation and defrocked.

The suit also named the diocese, Sacred Heart, retired Bishop James C. Timlin and the Rev. Joseph R. Kopacz, the diocesan vicar of priests when the abuse occurred, for allegedly failing to heed warnings about the abuse and not removing Mr. Liberatore.

The victim's attorney, Daniel T. Brier, said the settlement was reached late last night and approved by U.S. District Judge I. Richard Caputo this morning. The diocese will pay the settlement within 45 days.

For more details, read tomorrow's Times-Tribune.


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