Alleged Sexual Abuse Victim Files Lawsuit against Priest

February 16, 2011

SALINAS, Calif. - On Tuesday, the alleged victim filed a lawsuit against father Edward Fitz-Henry for sexual abuse. The 21-year-old filed a 44 page lawsuit against Father Fitz-Henry 7 years after the supposed incident happened. The victim claims that rumors at the Madonna Del Sasso Church in Salinas triggered him to come forward.

The Diocese of Monterey said they brought in an independent investigator to look into the Finaldi's client's allegation and don't believe that it is credible.

"He completely denies ever having any inappropriate contact with any sort with this young man. He's shocked by these allegations. He has no idea what the basis is. I suppose they're trying to get a lot of money out of it," said Carolyn Ingalls-Keeley, Fitz-Henry's attorney.

The victim's Attorney Vince Finaldi said Father Fitz-Henry repeatedly abused the boy when he was 14. "Father Fitz-Henry would allegedly sexually abuse him by rubbing on him, by talking to him about sexual issues during confession, by putting his hands down his pants, by rubbing up against him with an erection," said Finaldi.

The diocese is not taking any chances and took quick action, suspending Fitz-Henry from serving at his current church in San Benito County.

At the San Juan Bautista Mission, parishioners said Father Fitz-Henry was well liked in the community. They didn't want to go on camera, but said these allegations are hard to believe. A number of people supported father Fitz-Henry on our website, even questioning the alleged victim, pointing out past run-ins with police. Police have investigated the alleged victim before on criminal charges, but are not identifying him or those allegations to protect his identity.

Salinas police have opened their own investigation into the matter but no charges have been filed. According to the diocese, during their investigation they found out about another alleged sexual abuse incident against Fitz-Henry that happened 20 years ago that does appear to be credible.

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