Man Claims Abuse by Priest Caused Lifetime of Pain, Attempted Suicide

By Bryan Denson
The Oregonian
May 20, 2010

A man who claims a 2008 suicide attempt caused him to connect a lifetime of misery to a childhood rape by a Catholic priest has filed a $2.8 million federal lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.

The man, identified only by his initials in U.S. District Court papers, accuses Father Leonard E. Plocinski of grooming him for sex and ultimately raping him in the late 1970s, when he was an altar boy of 8 or 9 in Dallas, Ore. The abuse occurred in the changing room at St. Phillip's Catholic Church, the lawsuit alleges.

A civil complaint filed last Friday seeks $2.5 million for pain and suffering and economic damages of $300,000 -- including an estimated $50,000 for counseling and psychological treatment. The suit accuses the archdiocese, its Roman Catholic Archbishop and St. Phillip's of sexual battery of a child, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

The allegation against Plocinski was the first ever made against the priest, who died in 1995, said Bud Bunce, a spokesman for the archdiocese. Bunce said it will be difficult to learn more about accusations that date back more than 30 years.

The man who brought the suit alleges that he attempted suicide in September 2008 and came to understand only then that a lifetime of emotional injuries could be traced to his abuse at St. Phillip's.


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