Another Sexual Abuse Suit Filed against Former Bishop Verot Activities Director

By Liam Dillon
Naples Daily News
April 12, 2009

LEE COUNTY — The burden Patrick Kenney says he's carried for 25 years, no one else should have to bear.

Kenney, 40, filed suit two weeks ago in a Delaware county court alleging the Rev. Dennis Killion sexually abused, harassed and molested him when Kenney was a teenager at a Delaware Catholic high school in the 1980s. Kenney, a former professional wrestler, is now the eighth person to file suit in Delaware accusing Killion of sexual abuse during that time.

The suits also accuse the Catholic Church, the school and Killion's religious order, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, of knowing about the alleged abuse, but allowing Killion to continue teaching.

Kenney believes Killion, who worked as activities director at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers from 2006 to 2008, has abused others including in Florida. That's a reason why Kenney decided to go public.

"I'm sure there are survivors there that haven't discussed it yet," Kenney said.

No one has reported abuse by Killion to local Catholic authorities, according to a Diocese of Venice spokeswoman. A spokesman for the Oblates said there have been no allegations of abuse other than the eight people who have filed suit.

Kenney, who's best known for wrestling under the name "Simon Diamond," spent seven years working for Extreme Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action. He's now a trainer in New Jersey.

He hopes someone of his profession coming forward will help pierce stereotypes about male victims of sexual abuse and encourage others to discuss it.

"The first step in the healing process is to come forward," Kenney said. "Unfortunately, if you don't it's going to affect you and affect your family."

The Diocese of Venice referred comment about Kenney's lawsuit and a second suit filed anonymously last week to the Oblates.

"We are saddened to learn of the latest allegations against Fr. Dennis Killion," Diocese spokeswoman Adela Gonzales White said in a statement. "The Diocese of Venice was notified, and we ask that you contact the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for further comment."

The Oblates provincial, the Rev. James J. Greenfield, "voiced his heartache" at the additional allegations in a statement posted on the order's Web site.

"These allegations are disturbing on many levels, but two reasons are chief among them," Greenfield said. "First, if these are true, it is devastating to know that this could happen to any young person. Such dreadful things should never occur in the lives of our youth. Second, this points to the need for a culture of trust whose absence may have caused these men to suffer for 20 years."

Allegations against Killion first became public in August when a national support group for those abused by clergy held a demonstration outside Bishop Verot, where it believed Killion was still employed.

The priest had been reassigned for unrelated reasons to a parish church outside Philadelphia, but was placed on administrative leave once the lawsuits were filed.

Killion now resides at the order's retirement facility in Maryland, the Oblates statement said.

Both lawsuits are seeking unspecified damages, attorney's fees and court costs.


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