Indiana Diocese Faces Sex Harass Suit

United Press International
December 6, 1997

An Indiana woman is suing the Lafayette Diocese for what her suit terms "reckless indifference" to her claims of sexual harassment. Church worker Debra Kukla says she's endured four years of harassment from her priest with no intervention from diocese officials. Kukla, who is 50, is one of three women who approached Bishop William Higi to complain about the conduct of her boss, the Rev. Donald Eder of the St. Louis de Monfort Catholic Church in Fishers, Ind. Kukla, according to the Indianapolis Star, has accused Eder of repeatedly touching her breasts and calling her a "whore" at least twice. She says Eder even introduced her to Higi one time as "hot lips Kukla," but the bishop remained indifferent. Eder underwent counseling earlier this year for alcohol-related problems, but when he returned, the diocese returned him to his pulpit. After Kukla complained about him, the suit alleges the priest retaliated by faulting her work and embarrassing her. Eder denies the allegations. In a brief statement, Higi said the diocese had thoroughly investigated Kukla's claims and concluded "no further action is necessary." Kukla filed her suit this earlier week in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. ---


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