Savannah Catholic Diocese Named in Lawsuit on Sex Abuse

By JoAnn Merrigan
February 27, 2012

Wayland Y. Brown

The Catholic Diocese of Savannah is being named in a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a former priest. The Diocese website confirms the suit was filed in Jasper County, South Carolina.

Accordinging to the website, the suit alleges sexual abuse of a minor over 25 years ago by father Wayland Y. Brown. The Diocese, Raymond W. Lessard, bishop at the time, and current Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer are named as defendants.

According to the Diocese: Bishop Lessard removed Brown from active ministry in 1988. In 2003, Brown was convicted in Maryland on charges of child molestation. He served five years of a 10-year sentence. In 2004 a decree from the Vatican imposed laicization upon Brown. (reduced to lay status.)

The website includes a statement from Bishop Hartmayer who said the diocese continues to reach out in pastoral care to victims of child sexual abuse and he urged anyone who has been a victim of abuse by a volunteer or employee of the diocese to come forward.

The protection of children and youth is of the utmost importance, the bishop said. The Diocese adopted the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. Since that time, over 8,000 adult volunteers and employees who work with children in the Diocese have attended safe environment training.








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