Appeals Court Throws out Memphis Priest Abuse Lawsuit till Be Trusted

By Lawrence Buser
Commercial Appeal
May 29, 2010

A 2008 lawsuit accusing a Memphis priest of sexual abuse has been thrown out by an appeals court, which ruled that the statute of limitations had passed.

The suit filed by lay minister and community activist Ron Redwing alleged that Father Milton Guthrie sexually abused him in the 1970s when he was a youth in Guthrie's Holy Names Catholic Church parish. Guthrie, a pastor, teacher and civil rights activist, died in 2002 at age 70.

This week the Tennessee Court of Appeals said Redwing, who identified himself by name in the suit, filed his complaint 29 years after the expiration of the statute of limitations, one year after Redwing turned 18 in 1978.

The court did not rule on the merits of the case, which had never gone to trial.

Recently unsealed court documents show that sexual misconduct allegations have been lodged against more than a dozen priests in the Memphis Catholic Diocese in the past four decades.

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