Former Altar Boy Sues Catholic Diocese of Charlotte

July 20, 2011

[with video]

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An alleged victim of sexual abuse filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.

The alleged victim, listed as "John Doe," claimed a local priest molested him more than 20 years ago. The suit also alleges that the Diocese was aware of the abuse but did not report it and worked to cover it up.

In the lawsuit, "John Doe" alleged when he was a teenager in the early 1980s, Father Richard Farwell sexually abused him at St. Ann Catholic Church in Charlotte.

The suit alleges further molestation occurred at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury, N.C., and in other locations in North Carolina.

Lawyers representing the alleged victim are suing the Diocese for more than $10,000, saying it knew or should have known that Farwell was, in their eyes, a threat to children.

"Our client has come forth now as an adult because he has only recently learned the extent to which the leaders of the Diocese knew about Father Farwell's tendencies and the extent to which he was supported," attorney Leto Copeley said.

A diocese spokesperson said it's still waiting to be served the lawsuit, so it has nothing to say at this point.

Farwell was employed by the Diocese as a priest until 2002, when child sex abuse charges were filed against him in Rowan County.

Those charges were dropped in 2004, when Farwell pleaded no-contest to "contributing to the delinquency of a minor."

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