Diocese Asks for Dismissal of Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Chippewa Herald
November 29, 2008

The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse has moved for the dismissal of a lawsuit brought over an alleged sexual abuse incident by a priest at St. Bridget's Church in 1985.

A scheduling conference is scheduled for Dec. 4 in the case of James J. Kaufman, an inmate in the Eau Claire County Jail, who in September filed suit against the diocese; the church, which is located at the Eau Claire County address of 2801 N. 110th Ave., Chippewa Falls; and an unidentified priest referred to as John Doe.

In court documents filed earlier this month, the diocese asks for dismissal of the suit on two main grounds. First, the priest in the suit is unidentified and unknown and has not been served with a copy of the lawsuit. Since the priest is unknown, the court does not have jurisdiction, the diocese's response states.

The diocese also points out that the statute of limitations on the lawsuit expired in December 1993, or December 1994, depending on what theory of liability is used. That determination is based on Kaufman claiming he attended the church from 1979 to May 1986.

In the suit, Kaufman claims the priest had him on several occasions pull his pants down to "prove he was circumcised." Kaufman did not tell anyone about these events until he mentioned them in therapy groups in 2007 and early 2008.

The suit asks for $22,000 from the defendants as $1,000 for each year Kaufman has had to deal with the emotional ramifications of the alleged incidents. It also requests a formal apology from the priest, the church and the diocese.

A scheduling conference in a civil lawsuit typically sets dates when various parts of the process need to be completed.

It may also set a hearing date for the judge to listen to arguments on whether the suit should be dismissed on the basis of the diocese's argument.


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