Sex-Abuse Case Naming Former Priest Is Too Old

By Kate Giammarise
Toledo Blade
March 19, 2008

Accusations of abuse against a former Catholic priest have been dismissed by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge because the statute of limitations has expired.

The lawsuit, brought under the name John Doe, was filed last year by a former Toledoan now living in Illinois.

Attorney Catherine Hoolahan, one of two attorneys representing John Doe, said she will file a motion for reconsideration with Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Charles Doneghy within a few days and is hopeful that on appeal there will be a different outcome. Judge Doneghy ordered the dismissal last week.

The suit contended the unidentified man was sexually abused several times by Thomas Meiring, who at the time was a Catholic priest, during retreats at St. Mary's Church and rectory in Sandusky during the 1960s.

Mr. Meiring, a licensed counselor and clinical supervisor in the Toledo area known for his therapy work with transgendered people and youths with gender-identity problems, could not be reached for comment.

The complaints against Mr. Meiring were dismissed because too much time has passed between when the alleged acts occurred and when the lawsuit was filed, according to court documents in the case.

"We're obviously very pleased with the court's ruling," said attorney Alan Konop, who represents Mr. Meiring.

Claudia Vercellotti, co-coordinator of the local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the case is an example of the need to extend Ohio's statute of limitations law on such crimes and give victims their day in court.

"There is no statute of limitations on pain and suffering of kids when they are sexually abused," she said.

The suit is still pending against two other defendants, the Toledo Diocese and St. Mary's Church. A pretrial hearing in the case is set for May 2, with a trial date of June 2, according to court records.

Attorney Thomas Dillon, who represents the Toledo Diocese, declined to comment, as did diocesan spokesman Sally Oberski.


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