|Cardinal's Nephew's Claims Priest Abuse
Relative of John O'Connor Will File Suit over Actions While He Was at a Philly High School
By Darryl R. Isherwood
June 18, 2009
A nephew of the late Cardinal John J. O'Connor of New York plans to file suit today in a Delaware court, alleging he was sexually abused by a priest while a high school student in Philadelphia.
Rich Green, who attended Father Judge High School in the early 1990s, claims he was abused by the Rev. John M. McDevitt, who was a teacher at the school, according to an attorney for Green.
McDevitt was a Philadelphia city councilman from 1958 to 1962 and a member of the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales, a religious order headquartered in Washington, D.C. He died in 1999.
Green will file the suit in Wilmington, Del., under a Delaware law that opened a two-year window in the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases. McDevitt was a teacher at Salesianum High School in Wilmington before leaving to teach at Father Judge.
The suit names as defendants the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales, the Diocese of Wilmington, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Salesianum and Father Judge high schools.
"The abuse in question occurred in Pennsylvania after McDevitt was removed from Wilmington by his superiors," one of Green's lawyers, J. Michael Reck of New York, said in an e-mail Wednesday night.
"In part, the allegations are that the hierarchy of the Oblates, [Salesianum High] and the diocese knew of McDevitt's continuing abuse of children, and that instead of reporting the abuse they moved him to another school in Pennsylvania, where he abused our client," Reck said. "In a nutshell, they failed to warn and affirmatively placed him where he could continue to abuse kids."
This is the second suit filed against McDevitt by a man claiming the priest sexually abused him. In April, Kevin Cuff of Delaware claimed McDevitt abused him while Cuff was a student at Salesianum High.
Since the Delaware window was opened in 2007, more than a dozen former Salesianum students have filed cases against priests who taught there.
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