Diocese to Face Sexual Battery Allegations

By Kate Snyder
Morning Journal
July 2, 2011

A child abuse and sexual battery lawsuit is being brought against the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, former Bishop Anthony Pilla, St. Jude Church in Elyria and a former pastor at the church, Patrick O’Connor.

The suit in Lorain County Common Pleas Court was filed by a John Doe plaintiff who claims in the summer of 1997, when he was 15 years old, Patrick O’Connor began a two-year sexual relationship with him. During that time O’Connor gave him alcohol and cigarettes, showed him pornography and engaged in sexual activity.

O’Connor also took the victim to dinners, movies and they played racquetball together, the complaint stated.

Pilla, who was then bishop Pilla knew that O’Connor had abused a minor at St. Joseph Church in Cuyahoga Falls, and entered into a secret settlement that required confidentiality to conceal the crime, the complaint stated.

In 2009, O’Connor pleaded guilty to corruption of a minor, according to court documents. He was sentenced to three years of probation, which ends in December 2012, 100 hours of community service and 90 days in prison on work release program, and was also classified as a sex offender.

The plaintiff is asking for in excess of $25,000.

Bob Tayek, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese, said until their lawyers see the suit, he cannot comment on the case.



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