David Boyea

United Press International
November 22, 1986

Lawsuits totaling $12 million will be filed Monday against a Roman Catholic priest convicted of first-degree sexual assault and his superiors for allowing the priest to serve as a pastor, a Milwaukee attorney said.

Richard E. Reilly, a Milwaukee lawyer, said Friday he will file the suits on behalf of three White Lake families gainst the Rev. David Boyea, former pastor of St. James Catholic Church in White Lake; the Green Bay Diocese; Bishop Adam Maida, head of the diocese; and Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Morneau.

The suit claims Morneau, the diocese and St. James had known Boyea had a history of molesting young men and should have removed him from the church.

The lawsuit claims that between 1981 and 1985 Boyea was put in close contact with the boys during church activities. Each of the families is asking $1.5 million for their children, $500,000 for themselves and $2 million in punitive damages.

Reilly said the families at first tried to work out an out-of-court settlement but were unable to. He said the parents felt they and their children were harmed because of the priest's conduct and the actions o his superiors who failed to do anything about the problem.

Boyea, 38, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in august 1985 after pleading guilty to one charge of first-degree sexual assault against a young boy.

Officials said he had allegedly fondled up to a dozen boys who were 11 to 16 years old in a five-year period but the other charges were dropped.

"I think it's an important case because it brings out of the closet a problem that has existed and is continuing to exist with clergy, not only in the Catholic church, but in other religious organizations," said Reilly.


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