Men Allege Sexual Abuse by D.C.-Area Priest in 1950s-60s

By Maria Schmitt
The Examiner
June 19, 2009

Three men have alleged in lawsuits that they were sexually abused decades ago by a Washington-area priest.

One of the alleged victims, George Thompson, now lives in Arizona. He said in his lawsuit that Joseph Dooley sexually abused him while Dooley was monsignor at St. John the Baptist Church in Silver Spring and Thompson was a teenage parishioner.

Thompson alleges the attacks occurred between 1963 and 1967.

Two other men, who do not want their names to be made public, allege in another suit that Dooley abused them while they were young parishioners of Dooley's in the late 1950s through the mid-'60s at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Bethesda and Annunciation Catholic Church in Northwest Washington. One of the men says he served as an altar boy and was only 9 years old when the abuse started.

All three victims allege engaging in oral and other sexual acts with Dooley.

Dooley is named as a defendant in the suits, even though he's now deceased. Also named are the three parishes and the Archdiocese of Washington.

The archdiocese has not yet been served with the lawsuits, archdiocese Communications director Susan Gibbs said Thursday.

"We take [abuse allegations] seriously," Gibbs said.

Thompson came to the archdiocese in late 2005 with the allegations, Gibbs said, and they reported them to authorities.

The suits were filed in Superior Court in Delaware, according to a director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, because of a ruling that extended the statute of limitations. All three victims allege some of the abuse occurred at Dooley's trailer at Rehoboth Beach, Del.

"We'd like ... the archdiocese to use all their resources to reach out to victims," said Becky Ianni of SNAP. "We want the archdiocese to keep their promises, not keep silent."


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