Two File Sexual Assault Lawsuit against Priest from Edgerton

By Pat Schneider
Capital Times
May 14, 1994

An unidentified Sun Prairie man and an 11-year-old Sun Prairie boy have filed a lawsuit claiming they were sexually molested by a Catholic priest.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in Dane County Circuit Court, the two say they suffered psychological injury and emotional distress when they were assaulted by Rev. Phillip C. Keyes of Edgerton.

A third plaintiff, the boy's father, is a Sauk City resident who is claiminga loss of the love and companionship of his emotionally battered son.

The alleged assaults took place from 1982 to 1984 and in 1992, while Keyes was assigned to St. Pius V Chapel in Mukwonago. According to the suit, both victims were minors at the time.

The two are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for what the lawsuit terms "intentional, wanton and reckless" conduct by Keyes, the chapel and the Society of St. Pius, based in Kansas City, Mo.

Rev. Peter Scott, superior of the society, a religious order, was not available Friday to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by Milwaukee attorney Robert Elliott, who is handling two other lawsuits recently brought by two men who say they were molested as minors by two Madison Diocesan priests.

Like those bringing the earlier lawsuits, the plaintiffs in this most recent suit claim they were unable for years to recognize the existence or cause of their injuries.

State law generally sets the statute of limitations in civil suits at two years.

The suit charges that both the parish and the religious order knew, or should have known, that Keyes was a pedophile. Keyes' condition should have been treated and his contact with minors supervised, according to the lawsuit.

In addition, after the religious order was made aware of the assaults, it failed to report them or provide for treatment of the victims, the suit says.

Keyes used the authority of his position to "coerce, cajole, bribe and emotionally overpower" his victims, the lawsuit alleges. The suit claims the priest used the threat of hell to prevent victims from reporting the assaults.


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