Sex Abuse Victim Reaches Settlement with Fort Worth Diocese

By Darren Barbee
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
May 9, 2011

Another victim of the late Monsignor James Reilly, a serial child molester who worked in Arlington, reached a settlement Monday with the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese.

Terms were not disclosed and the gender of the victim was not immediately known, though Reilly's victims apparently all have been boys. Bishop Kevin Vann, leader of the diocese, said in a written statement that he is deeply sorry for any sexual abuse the victim "may have endured and suffered by Reilly."

Vann, who came to the diocese long after Reilly's stint at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Arlington from 1969 through 1987, said he will address any charge of abuse as quickly as possible.

"As the pastor of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, I am committed to ensuring that the Diocese's policies are adhered to so we can prevent future tragedy such as that which has befallen the victims of abuse," he said.

Tahira Khan Merritt, a Dallas attorney who has represented or represents 19 people in lawsuits accusing Reilly, said the priest molested children as young as age 9 and as old as 16. Clients have told her that Reilly would pull children out of class and molest them in the church rectory, Merritt told the Star-Telegram last year.

In October, a man using the pseudonym John Doe I sued the diocese in October, asking for more than $50,000 in damages. The man claimed that Reilly engaged in sex acts with him and abused him in 1973-74 while on church property. The abuse happened when the man was an adolescent, his attorney, Steve Schulte, has said.

Reilly retired in 1987 and moved to Philadelphia. He died in 1999.



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