Lawsuit Alleges Priest Sexually Abused 7th Grader in Wichita Falls
March 5, 2015
|Image of Father John Hugh Sutton from texomashomepage.com|
A lawsuit filed in Tarrant County alleging long-term sexual abuse of a 7th grader at Notre Dame Middle School in Wichita Falls seeks an award of more than $1 million from the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese.
The suit was filed Tuesday on behalf of the anonymous listed in the lawsuit as John Doe 117. It alleged the sexual assaults by a priest began in 1989 and continued into the boy's 9th grade.
Doe's attorney said Father John Hugh Sutton, was the school chaplain and the boy's history teacher and confessor.
Sutton died in 2004 after serving in several other states under various aliases according to the suit. It said he told the boy the assaults were punishment because the boy copied an assignment from an encyclopedia.
The boy was told he had to do penance in the small chapel inside the school.
During the assaults Sutton stuffed a towel in the boy's mouth to muffle his screams, according to the court documents.
To keep the boy from telling others, the suit alleged when the boy was in 9th grade, Sutton and and two school officials removed him from class and accused him of selling LSD in school and threatened to have him arrested.
And after that threat, the suit alleged the assaults continued until Sutton's transfer in 1992.
In 2013, the attorney said John Doe began having panic attics and was admitted to a psychiatric facility.
Last March, after the allegations surfaced, the bishop of the Fort Worth Diocese sent a notice to Notre Dame parents about the allegations and said anyone who had been abused could come forward.
A statement from the diocese said the diocese offered counseling and support to the former student and that bishop Michael Olson came to Sunday masses at all Wichita Falls Parish Churches to announce the allegations and ask any victims to contact the diocese.
The statement said the diocese is continuing to investigate the allegations.