New Jersey Man Files Lawsuit Alleging Abuse by Priest

By Suzanne Sataline
Wall Street Journal
June 18, 2009

A man who says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that he is the nephew of Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor, the former head of the New York archdiocese, states in the suit that he was molested by a priest while attending a Catholic high school in the early 1990s.

Richard F. Green, 31 years old, and a resident of New Jersey, says in the complaint, filed in Superior Court in Wilmington, Del., that the priest knew he was related to the cardinal and used that information to intimidate the teen.

Mr. Green filed the complaint under a window, created by the Delaware legislature, that lifted the statute of limitations on civil suits and allowed alleged victims of childhood abuse two years to sue. More than 60 suits had been filed as of last week. New York state lawmakers are considering creating a one-year window.

The suit alleges that the repeated abuse occurred during Mr. Green's freshman year at Father Judge High School for Boys in Philadelphia, from 1990 to 1991. Mr. Green's attorney, John Manly, said he doesn't know if the cardinal, who died in 2000, knew that Mr. Green allegedly had been abused.

The cleric accused of abusing Mr. Green, the Rev. John M. McDevitt, is deceased, according to the lawsuit.

Mr. Green is seeking unspecified damages against the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, a religious order based in Delaware that employed the alleged abuser; Father Judge High School; the Catholic diocese of Wilmington and the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as other parties. Representatives of the Philadelphia and Wilmington dioceses declined comment because they had not yet seen the lawsuit. The order and the school didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

Write to Suzanne Sataline at


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