Dioceses Settle Case of Abuse by Br Bishop

By Joe Gyan Jr.
The Advocate
October 15, 2009

A 45-year-old Houston man who claims he was sexually abused as a boy by former Baton Rouge Bishop Joseph Sullivan has settled his lawsuit against the Roman Catholic dioceses of Baton Rouge and Corpus Christi for $225,000, the man’s attorney said Wednesday.

The Diocese of Baton Rouge, through its insurer, is paying for the entire settlement, a diocesan spokesman said.

Glenn Hymel filed his suit two years ago in Corpus Christi, alleging he was abused by Sullivan from 1978 to 1982 after entering a Baton Rouge seminary for minors.

Hymel said he transferred to a minor seminary in Corpus Christi after the Baton Rouge school closed. He claimed Sullivan visited the Corpus Christi school and continued to abuse him for years.

Chelsie King Garza, who represents Hymel, said Wednesday that Hymel also was abused by Sullivan in New York and Hawaii when the bishop had Hymel accompany him on trips to those states.

Sullivan served as bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge from 1974 until his death in 1982.

The bishop’s name adorned a local high school for years, but it was erased after an out-of-court settlement in 2004 of another suit alleging Sullivan had sexually abused a minor boy.

Diocese of Baton Rouge spokesman Bill Michelet and Diocese of Corpus Christi spokesman Marty Wind said both dioceses always take any allegations of sexual misconduct seriously.

Michelet stressed that Hymel’s suit, whose allegations date back more than 25 years, did not make abuse claims against any current clergy in the Baton Rouge diocese.

In a statement released through Wind, the Diocese of Corpus Christi also said it is important to note “that this case does not involve any church worker or Priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, past or present.’’

“The Diocese of Corpus Christi did not participate in the funding of any settlement,’’ the statement added.

Garza said the settlement reached last week includes the cost of Hymel’s past counseling and future counseling for three years.

“It’s another step in the healing process,’’ she said of Hymel’s feelings about the settlement.


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