Lawsuit Alleges Priest Molested Child

United Press International
March 22, 1988

A Catholic priest is accused in a lawsuit of sexually molesting an Anne Arundel County couple's son when the youth was an altar boy.

In a civil suit filed in Baltimore Circuit Court, the couple alleges that a priest at St. Andrew by the Bay Church in Cape St. Claire assaulted their son in 1982 when he was 13.

The suit alleges that the altar boy was forced by a priest to act out "religious fantasies" and was told that a martyred saint had been similarly treated.

The couple claims the priest, the Rev. William Simms, had a long history of molesting boys and he should not have been assigned to a parish.

That history included "dressing them in sexually provocative briefs, and engaging in sexual wrestling, fondling, ritualistic sexual fantasies and other sexually deviant and dangerous and pedophilic behavior," the plaintiffs allege.

The suit, which seeks $12 million in damages, names the Baltimore archdiocese and Archbishop Willaim Borders as defendants along with the priest.

Lawyers for the archdiocese acknowledged Monday that Simms had molested two boys in Cape St. Claire. But they said Simms was removed as soon as the incidents came to light and he was put in residential therapy for a year.

Simms now is an administrator with the Archdiocesan Tribunal. Officials said he will remain assigned to duties where he has no contact with children.

Michael Rauh, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the Anne Arundel County boy

was "severely damaged" by the incidents and has attempted suicide and required extensive hospitalization and psychiatric treatment that has drained the family financially.

The suit lists the plaintiffs as "Jane and Joseph Doe" and their child as "John Doe" to prevent the victim from being identified.


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