Four Men File Lawsuit against Delaware Priest Who Worked at a Fort Myers High School

By Liam Dillon
Naples Daily News

August 4, 2008

Four men have filed a lawsuit against a priest who recently worked at a Catholic high school in Fort Myers.

The four men, now adults, filed their suit in a county court in Delaware against the Rev. Dennis Killion and Catholic Church organizations alleging childhood sexual harassment, molestation and abuse when Killion worked at a high school in Delaware.

Killion, 57, worked as activities director at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers from July 2006 until last month.

None of the alleged acts took place in Southwest Florida and there are no separate allegations against him while he worked in the Diocese of Venice, which has jurisdiction over 10 Florida counties including Collier and Lee.

Killion has been reassigned to Wilmington, Del.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national support group for those abused by clergy, held a press conference outside Bishop Verot school Monday because the organization believed Killion was still employed by the school, according to Joelle Casteix, a SNAP regional director.

Killion remained listed Monday afternoon on the Diocese of Venice Web site as assigned to Bishop Verot.

ďThere are four separate allegations of sexual abuse being made and we were afraid that if we didnít have a press conference in Fort Myers no one would know about it,Ē Casteix said.

The organization plans to hold another press conference in Delaware Tuesday, Casteix said.

In a statement, the Diocese of Venice said it was unaware of any allegations against Killion prior to his employment at Bishop Verot and that he passed a criminal background check. The diocese said it hadnít received any complaints about him while he worked in Southwest Florida and that his reassignment wasnít related to any allegations of misconduct.

The statement added that Killion has been suspended by his religious order, the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales, pending an investigation.

John C. Manly, a California-based attorney representing the men alleging abuse, said his clients first informed the Oblates of the abuse during an internal investigation into Killionís conduct in the late 1980s.

Casteix said SNAP encouraged anyone with complaints about Killion to contact law enforcement.

The diocese urged anyone with complaints about Killionís conduct while employed at Bishop Verot to contact the dioceseís victim assistance minister, Barbara DiCocco, at (941) 416-6114.


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