Priest Accused of "Horrific Sexual Acts"

By David Breen
Orlando Sentinel
October 21, 2011,0,4738158.story

A new lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando claims the Rev. Lawrence Redmond sexually abused a boy in 1974. (Sentinel file, Sentinel file / September 16, 1995)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando is again the target of a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of a child by a priest decades ago. The suit accuses the diocese of neglect for allowing an abusive priest to have contact with children, and of concealing the priest's actions to prevent a public scandal.

The plaintiff in the suit, identified as John Doe No. 86, is a Miami man born in 1964. He alleges that he was molested in the Orlando area by the Rev. Lawrence Redmond in about 1974, when he was about 10.

The suit says Redmond was in charge of a summer sleepaway camp for boys called Camp San Pedro when he met the boy. "Father Redmond would select John from among the other campers to accompany him on trips to the St. Johns River," the suit alleges. On another occasion, "John was invited to spend the night at Father Redmond's cabin at Camp San Pedro."

The suit details abuse by the priest on multiple occasions, and alleges that Redmond "intimidated and coerced John into not disclosing Father Redmond's horrific sexual acts to anyone."

Redmond abused other children and coerced them to keep silent as well, the suit claims.

As a result of the abuse, the plaintiff has suffered "severe psychological injuries, anger, humiliation, alcohol abuse, nightmares of being harmed, flashbacks, mood swings, reckless and self-destructive behavior, irrational phobias, and the loss of enjoyment of life," the suit alleges.

The suit was filed Oct. 3 and seeks monetary damages in excess of $15,000.

It's not the first time Redmond, who eventually rose to a high post in the diocese, has been accused of abuse. In the 1990s, at least six men came forward to say Redmond had molested them.

Redmond was sued in 1995 by a man who said the priest abused him in a St. Augustine cabin about 1980 when he was 15. The man sued both Redmond and the diocese, but a judge threw out the suit because the statute of limitations had expired. Redmond retired in January of that year. Prior to his retirement, Redmond was one of then-Bishop Norbert Dorsey's top two deputies, known as vicars general, and served as a pastor in Ormond Beach.

The new suit alleges that after learning of Redmond's abuse of minors, the diocese "actively took steps to conceal the abuse, make misrepresentations about Father Redmond's suitability for the ministry, and destroyed documents and other evidence revealing [the diocese's] negligence, for purposes of protecting the Diocese of Orlando from civil liability."

Since 2005, the Orlando diocese has paid out more than $5 million to settle suits alleging sexual abuse by clergy.

The suit by John Doe No. 86 is at least the 15th abuse lawsuit filed against the diocese in that time.

The diocese has not yet been served with the suit, according to Carol Brinati, the diocese's chancellor for administration.

"We pray for all victims of abuse and take any allegation of abuse seriously," Brinati said via email, adding that anyone with information about abuse is asked to call law enforcement and the diocese's victim assistant coordinator at 407-246-7179 .

Redmond died in 2006 at age 69.



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