Ex-Priest Faces Third Abuse Lawsuit

By Dorothy Schneider
Journal & Courier
May 15, 2009

A third lawsuit has been filed against a former Roman Catholic priest who resides in West Lafayette and who, until recently, worked at Alpine Clinic in Lafayette.

The suit alleges Charles "Chuck" Cichanowicz sexually abused a Navajo teen 30 years ago. Two similar civil complaints have also been filed in Navajo Nation District Court in Window Rock, Ariz.

"The beginning of the sexual abuse took the form of grooming behaviors by Defendant Priest in order to manipulate Plaintiff into having sexual contact such as naked sunbathing and wrestling," according to the lawsuit.

After those activities, the complaint alleges Cichanowicz transported the teen, identified only as Joe Doe CB in court records, from the Navajo Nation to Gallup, N.M., and he provided alcohol and sexually abused the teen.

Messages left Thursday seeking comment at a home telephone listing for Cichanowicz and at the offices of the Diocese of Gallup were not returned.

Dr. Nizar El-Khalili, Alpine Clinic's medical director, said Cichanowicz resigned from his job in April after the second abuse lawsuit was filed. El-Khalili said there were no problems with Cichanowicz during his time at the clinic.

The plaintiff is suing for childhood sexual abuse, assault and battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

John Doe CB is seeking unspecified damages.

--Dorothy Schneider


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