New Lawsuit Filed against Diocese

November 15, 2007

PORTLAND, Maine — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is facing another lawsuit, but this one involves a familiar plaintiff.

William Picher, 33, of Augusta, already has filed suit against the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese and the Rev. Raymond Melville.

On Wednesday, Picher's lawyers filed a new lawsuit naming four priests and a nun. Named in the suit areMonsignor Joseph Ford, of Falmouth, the Rev. James Morrison, of Norway, Monsignor Rene Mathieu, of Saco, and Sister Rita-Mae Bissonette, of Portland.

Attorney Walter McKee said, "All of these people were supervisors of Father Melville at one time or another and had the ability to stop what happened. They didn't. They turned a blind eye, and William Picher and was abused repeatedly."

A Diocese spokeswoman said she could not comment because she had not seen the lawsuit, and the Diocese had not been notified about it.

Picher claimed Melville sexually abused him in the 1980s. Picher's lawyers said they are not allowed to name the fifth defendant but are working to change that.


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