Ex-priest Named in Molestation Suit

By Andy Grimm
Gary Post-Tribune

December 3, 2008,priest.article

CROWN POINT - A former St. Thomas More Parish priest molested an 11-year-old Munster boy in 2004, according to a lawsuit filed today against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary.

The victim, now 16 and living in Hobart, and his parents also claim the abuse came more than 13 years after church leaders first learned of claims against the Rev. Richard A. Emerson alleging he had "inappropriate relationships with young boys" when he was assigned to a parish in Orlando, Fla.

The claims in the civil lawsuit mirror claims in lawsuits filed against church leaders in Orlando, Fla., alleging Emerson molested children there before he was transferred to the Gary Diocese in 1992.

Attorneys representing a the Florida plaintiffs and the Munster family received documents from both diocese outlining a history of concerns in the church and by parishioners. The documents, however, do not outline specific instances of alleged abuse, only that there were concerns about Emerson's behavior.

The case was filed Lake County Superior Court today is the first filed by a plaintiff alleging abuse while Emerson was in Indiana.

The family is being represented by Marc Pearman.

Emerson, 56, has never been charged criminally. He was ordained in Gary in 1978 and has been assigned to Notre Dame Parish in Michigan City and St. Thomas More in Munster as well as parishes in Orlando. He is currently thought to be living in the Atlanta area.


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