Archdiocese to Face Suit in Wake of Suicide

By David Gambacorta
Philadelphia Daily News
March 30, 2011

It was the middle of autumn in 2007 when a 36-year-old man named "Ben" decided to share his nightmares with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

He told terrible - and terribly detailed - stories about abuse that he claimed he had suffered as an altar boy decades ago at the hands of the Rev. Joseph Gallagher at St. Mark's Parish, in Bristol.

It was sick, gut-wrenching stuff, some corroborated by other former altar boys, according to a recent grand-jury report.

The Archdiocese listened to the sordid stories, and then told Ben a year later that it couldn't substantiate his claims.

He committed suicide not long after.

The tragic tale was to get a new twist today, when three attorneys planned to announce that they are filing a wrongful-death complaint against the Archdiocese on behalf of Ben's family.

Jeff Anderson, one of the attorneys involved in the case, said he has represented scores of priest sex- abuse victims across the country during the past 27 years.

Last month, the Archdiocese announced that it is re-examining allegations made against Gallagher, who is now retired.


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