Priest Sex Abuse

February 11, 2008

A Bonifay couple has filed suit against the Catholic Church for failing to prevent their 15 year daughter from being abused by a priest. The suit names a priest who has since moved to India as part of a plea agreement in the case, as well as the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee and Bishop John Ricard.

The parents, who are not being identified because it would identify their daughter, say their daughter was kissed and then assaulted.

Sexual intercourse did not take place. The biggest concern says the parents and their lawyer, is how the church has responded.

The girl's mother told reporters, "They've done everything but ignore us and we want to know where this man is now. We want to make sure he is out of this country so he won't hurt no other children, hopefully in the world, but in this country."

Joe Saunders is the family's attorney.

Based on evidence on how the church has handled other child predators, we think there is a very strong possibility, probability, that he had done this before, that they knew about it that they didn't take action, and indeed we don't have reassurance that they've even taken action now to protect children in India."

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money. The family is being assisted by a national group known as SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The Catholic Church has declined to comment until it can read the lawsuit.


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