Man Sues St. Louis Archdiocese and Priest for Sexual Abuse in 1970s

By Valerie Schremp Hahn
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 2, 2011

The Rev. Michael S. McGrath in a photo from a 1975 yearbook of priests in the St. Louis Srchdiocese. Read more:

ST. LOUIS. A man filed a lawsuit in St. Louis Circuit Court this week against the St. Louis Archdiocese and the priest he says sexually molested him as an altar boy in the 1970s at St. Ferdinand Catholic Parish in Florissant.

The priest, Michael S. McGrath, has been sued at least 20 times by people alleging abuse. He was ordained in 1975, removed from public ministry in 1997 and laicized in 2005. He served in parishes and schools in St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County.

The newest lawsuit, filed Thursday by a John Doe, names McGrath, the archdiocese, and Archbishop Robert Carlson.

It said that beginning in late 1976, the plaintiff became an altar boy in the parish. It says McGrath picked him up from his house under the guise that he needed an altar boy to help him perform last rites. McGrath sexually abused the plaintiff in the visiting room of the nursing home where he was to perform the last rites, the suit says.

Another incident happened in the rectory during a seminary recruitment, when McGrath forced the plaintiff to perform oral sex on him and McGrath performed oral sex on the plaintiff.

The suit says the archbishop and archdiocese became aware of the abuse after 2006 but failed to report it to police, parishioners, families and other victims.

The man is seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress, negligence, and failure to supervise clergy.


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