Man: Priest Sexually Assaulted Me 40 Years Ago

October 5, 2010

[the lawsuit]

A South Florida man has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami claiming he was sexually assaulted be a priest more than 40 years ago.

According the suit, Willard Trent, 55, claims when he was an alter boy at St. John the Baptist parish he was frequently sexually assaulted by Father Thomas Dennehy between 1967 and 1969. At the time not only was Denney pastor of the church, he was also the Superintendent at Cardinal Gibbons High School, where the St. John the Baptist parish met until their church building was completed in 1969.

Trent claims the abuse consisted of oral sex and sodomy and Dennehy would some times dress him in a girl's uniform from Cardinal Gibbons High School and then sodomize him.

Trent reportedly repressed all memories of the abuse until 2009, when he returned to St. John the Baptist and a conversation with a priest triggered his memories.

Dennehy, who worked in the Miami archdiocese for 35 years, retired in 1993 and died in 1999 in Miami.

According to the Archdiocese, in October 2009 they were contacted by a man who claim Father Dennehy abused him. He was put in touch with the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator and offered free counseling. The Archdiocese also reported the man's claims to Broward County State Attorney.

"As always, the Catholic Church's concerns are for the victims and a prevailing sense of justice. In addition, over these past eight years, the Archdiocese has been forthcoming and taken steps to keep our children safe through training and background screenings."

Mary Ross Agosta

Director of Communications

Archdiocese of Miami


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