Suit Alleges Sex Abuse by Priest

By David Accomazzo
Rocky Mountain News

July 16, 2008

A new lawsuit against the Denver Archdiocese accuses a dead priest of sexually abusing a man decades ago when he was an altar boy at a Loveland church.

The lawsuit, filed in Denver District Court on Tuesday, alleges that the Rev. Harold Robert White sexually abused the victim, identified only as "John Doe 2A," in either 1969 or 1970 at St. John the Evangelist Parish. The victim was a minor at the time, the complaint said.

White, who died in 2006, has been implicated in many of the sex abuse cases settled by that archdiocese in the last two years.

Local leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national victims' advocacy group, announced the latest lawsuit at a news conference Tuesday morning outside the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.

This month the archdiocese released some of its personnel files on White as part of a lawsuit settlement. The files indicated church officials knew White was a pedophile but kept moving him from parish to parish.

Jeb Barrett, SNAP's local leader, said John Doe 2A "was encouraged that his allegations would be believed. . . . I think he realized that anyone who doesn't come forward is protecting pedophiles."

Zach Warzel, one of the man's lawyers, said his client is seeking "all damages allowed by law" given the nature of the complaint.

Warzel said he could not comment on the specifics of the case but that his client would be open to settling outside of court.

The archdiocese said that as of midday Tuesday, it had not received a copy of the lawsuit.

"We take seriously every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor involving clergy or an employee of the Archdiocese of Denver," said spokeswoman Jeanette DeMelo.


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