Suit Alleges Cover-Up of 1980s Sex Abuse by Local Priest

By Tim Funk
Charlotte Observer
July 20, 2011

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Mecklenburg County Superior Court alleges that the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte covered up the sexual abuse of a teenager by one of its priests in the 1980s.

The suit alleges that then-Rev. Richard Farwell sexually abused the plaintiff, while he was 14 and 15 years old, on three occasions: in 1983, in the rectory at St. Ann Catholic Church in Charlotte; in 1984, while in a car near the Blue Ridge Parkway; and in 1984, at the rectory of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury.

In 2004 in Rowan County, Farwell pleaded no contest in a separate case a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The suit alleges that the diocese knew of Farwell's "problems" and should have protected the plaintiff, who the suit says attempted suicide after the alleged abuse. Diocese of Charlotte spokesman David Hains said the diocese has not yet seen the lawsuit, so had no comment on the case Tuesday.


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