Another Jesuit Dallas Graduate Sues School and Diocese, Alleging Priest Sexually Assaulted Him
By Tom Steele
September 26, 2019
Another graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has sued the school, claiming that a priest sexually assaulted him while he was a student there in the 1980s.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Dallas County civil court, also names the Catholic Diocese of Dallas among the defendants.
The suit alleges the school and the diocese did not protect the student from being abused by the Rev. Patrick Koch and then covered up the abuse.
Neither the school nor the diocese commented on the specific allegations Thursday.
The defendants "knew that Koch's psychosexual disorder rendered him unfit for a position of trust and confidence to be assigned around minors such as those who attended Jesuit Dallas," the lawsuit says. "Despite this knowledge, defendants allowed Koch unsupervised and unfettered access to young boys."
Koch was named on a list of clergy members "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children that was released by the Dallas diocese in January. He was never charged with a crime and died in 2006 at the age of 78.
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The accuser is identified by the pseudonym John Doe in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Jesuit Dallas President Mike Earsing declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit.
"We condemn any person who would use their position of authority to physically, mentally or sexually abuse a student entrusted to their care," he said in a written statement. "Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with all victims of abuse."
A spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Dallas said the diocese "takes every allegation of abuse seriously, and so this lawsuit is currently under review," adding that Bishop Edward Burns encourages victims of abuse to report the crimes to authorities.
According to the lawsuit, the accuser attended Jesuit Dallas from 1979 until his graduation in 1983.
When he was a 15-year-old sophomore, he and another student left the northwest Dallas campus without permission, and he was given three days of in-school suspension as punishment. He says he spent those school days in a windowless closet next to the library, with a couch and two bookcases inside.
|Mike Pedevilla, who also says the Rev. Patrick Koch sexually abused him while he was a student at Jesuit Dallas, points to a picture of Koch in a 1980s yearbook.(Ryan Michalesko / Staff Photographer)|
On the first day of the suspension, the lawsuit says, Koch — who was Jesuit Dallas' director of alumni and had previously been the school's principal and president — came into the closet and sat next to the boy on the couch.
After commenting on the boy's complexion, he asked whether his skin tone was the same elsewhere on his body and started to unbutton the boy's shirt before the boy grabbed his arm and told him to stop.
The following two days, however, Koch persisted in his advances, the lawsuit says. He kissed the boy on the cheek and told him everything was OK, then sexually assaulted him.
"Since there had been no other witnesses to these events, plaintiff felt powerless to take any action to report these events to anyone in authority," the lawsuit says.
One of the accuser's classmates, Mike Pedevilla, sued the school and diocese last month, also alleging that Koch had molested him.
|Mike Pedevilla also has sued Jesuit Dallas and the Dallas diocese over an abuse allegation.(Ryan Michalesko / Staff Photographer)|
The Dallas Morning News generally does not name people who say they have been victims of sexual abuse, but Pedevilla cast aside his anonymity because he said he was in a position to push the church to make changes.
"I want to sit this close, face to face, with Jesuit and the parties representing Jesuit and the Diocese of Dallas," he told The News. "I want them to see me and have to look me in the eyes and talk to me. I want to reveal, I want to expose the practices at Jesuit and throughout the Dallas Diocese."
Another former Jesuit student sued the school in March, saying Donald Dickerson, another "credibly accused" priest, sexually assaulted him in the late 1970s. Dickerson was removed from the Jesuit order in 1986, and he died in 2018.