Alleged Abuse Victim Sues Charlotte Diocese

By Ben Thompson
NewsChannel 36
July 19, 2011

A North Carolina man has sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. In papers filed Tuesday, the man, simply named as John Doe, claims the church spent decades covering up his sexual abuse.

The man claims Father Richard Farwell molested him several times in the early 1980s in Charlotte, Salisbury, and in the North Carolina mountains.

Farwell faced criminal charges back in 2002 for similar allegations. He pled no contest to Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in a Rowan County court and served no jail time. He now lives in Florida.

"The victim has only recently learned, as we've alleged in the complaint, that the diocese knew or had reason to know about the problems Father Farwell had, and that he wasn't fit to be a priest," said Plaintiff attorney Seth Langson.

The 130-page lawsuit claims a systematic approach by the Church to cover for Farwell. It says the Diocese sent him to treatment centers several times over the decades, and would place him in a new Charlotte-area church once he returned.

"The defendant diocese did not supervise or monitor Farwell's treatment for alcoholism or sexual addiction, nor did it take steps to prevent Farewell from being alone with children throughout his tenure with the diocese," page 82 of the lawsuit reads.

"We've alleged in the lawsuit that the diocese has a history of protecting priests or employees they knew or were likely to be child abusers. And they actively covered that up over the years. And continue to do so," Langson said.

The plaintiff was 14 years old at the time of the alleged sexual abuse. He claims it happened several times over the course of a year. His attorney says he's seeking whatever settlement the jury deems appropriate.


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