Diocese in Fall River Sued over Rape Charge

By David Weber
Boston Herald
August 26, 1998

A former New Bedford woman who claims she was raped by a seminarian is suing the Roman Catholic diocese of Fall River, charging that the church ignored reports that might have protected her.

The seminarian, however, was acquitted of raping the woman, who was 26 years old when she claims the assault occurred in 1995 at Cathedral Camp in East Freetown.

But Boston attorney Mark Itzkowitz sued on the woman's behalf Friday in Suffolk Superior Court, charging that seminarian Alexander Delgado should have been disciplined by church officials because they knew he had been accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl the day before the woman alleges he raped her on Aug. 23, 1995.

Itzkowitz said Delgado was eventually forced out of the seminary and returned to his native Colombia.

The woman alleges that she went to Delgado at his request for some personal counseling while both she and he were associated with Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church in New Bedford.

In addition to the Fall River diocese, Bishop Sean O'Malley, the Rev. John Perry and Sister Joseph Marie Levesque were named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Diocese spokesman John Kearns said the church would not comment at least until it received the complaint, which had not arrived in yesterday's mail.

The woman alleges that Levesque, who was camp director, should have known about the 13-year-old girl's complaint against Delgado. Itzkowitz said news accounts already had revealed that Rev. James Porter, who victimized dozens of Catholic children, committed some assaults at Camp Cathedral while he was a seminary student.


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