Lawsuit Claims Abuse by Priest

By John P. Martin
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 7, 2011

A Delaware man on Monday became the latest alleged sex abuse victim to sue the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, contending negligence by archdiocesan leaders enabled a priest to molest him when he was a teen, and that church victim-assistance employees were unresponsive when he sought their help.

Philip Gaughan, 31, said he decided to come forward in the hope that doing so might he help other victims.

"I don't want anybody to have to go through what I've had to go through," Gaughan said at a news conference outside City Hall, where he was flanked by his wife, his father and his lawyers. "No child should have to go through this ever again."

Gaughan's lawsuit mirrors one filed last month, after three priests and a teacher were charged with abusing children and a grand jury vilified the archdiocese's attempts to reform in the years since the scandal first broke.

The lawsuit accused the Rev. John E. Gillespie of molesting Gaughan between 1994 and 1997, when the teen was a sacristan at Our Lady of Calvary Church, and Gillespie was its pastor.

And it contends archdiocesan leaders are guilty of conspiracy and fraud for ignoring signs of abusive behavior and being unresponsive to victims.

According to a 2005 grand jury report, Gillespie kept his post as pastor even after admitting to church leaders as early as 1994 that he had abused children. He died in 2008.

The archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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