Diocese Sued for First Time for Sexual Abuse

News Journal
August 24, 2008

Attorneys announced Friday they have filed the first lawsuit against the Diocese of Wilmington for childhood sexual abuse by one of its priests, now deceased, who was stationed at St. Francis de Sales Church in Salisbury, Md.

David Dixon, 50, of Peoria, Ariz., claims the Rev. Leonard J. Mackiewicz took him from his Salisbury home, drove him across state lines to the priest's mother's house in Sussex County and sexually abused him when he was 12 years old, according the suit filed Friday in Sussex County Superior Court.

Mackiewicz died in 1994 and was identified by the Wilmington Diocese as one of 20 priests who the church determined had "credible or substantiated complaints of sexual abuse of minors" against them. The lawsuit, filed by the Wilmington-based Neuberger Firm, alleges the diocese had prior knowledge Mackiewicz was molesting children before transferring him to St. Francis de Sales Church.

Last week, Mary Dougherty, 55, filed a lawsuit accusing Mackiewicz of sexually assaulting her when she was a member of the Catholic Youth Organization under Mackiewicz at Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church.


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