2 Sue Diocese of Wilmington, Alleging Sexual Abuse by Priest

By Sean O’sullivan
The News Journal

December 19, 2008

A pair of unnamed brothers, who were altar boys at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Dover, have become the latest to file suit against the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington alleging sexual abuse by a priest and seeking damages.

The lawsuit, filed in New Castle County Superior Court today by attorney Thomas Neuberger, alleges that the late Rev. Eugene F. Clarahan, while drunk, sexually abused the boys, then 9 and 12, in separate incidents at a holiday gathering in 1980 at their parents’ home.

In the lawsuit they care called John Coe #2 and John Coe #3.

Clarahan was a priest for 31 years in Elsmere, Wilmington, New Castle and Dover parishes before being transferred to Maryland.

He retired in 1993 and died in 1999, according to court papers. He was named by the diocese in 2006 as one of 20 priests who had "admitted, corroborated or otherwise substantiated" allegations of abuse filed against them.

Robert Krebs, spokesman for the Diocese of Wilmington, declined comment on the lawsuit, as the diocese has generally done for previous lawsuits.

This is the fourth lawsuit, filed by Neuberger, naming Clarahan and the 27th filed by his firm against the diocese under the Delaware Child Victim's Act of 2007.

That act opened a two-year window in the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil claims. The window closes in July 2009.


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