Priest Accused of Molesting Boy

By Karin Scholz
Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
May 17, 2001

A lawsuit filed yesterday accuses a Catholic priest imprisoned for rape of molesting a 10-year-old boy in 1981.

The suit, filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court under the name John Doe, alleges that the Rev. Martin Louis "ingratiated himself into the affections of the household" and then sexually abused and assaulted Doe, who was 10 at the time.

It also accuses the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland of assigning him to positions of trust even though they knew of his "sexual appetite for children."

Louis, 62, was sentenced to five to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to rape in 1993.

Prosecutors said that in that case, Louis repeatedly raped a Euclid girl at her home in 1983 and 1984. The girl, who was 10 and 11 when the rapes occurred, told a teacher several years later.

Bob Tayek, Diocese spokesman, said staff lawyers had not seen the suit and could not immediately comment. Louis is in Grafton Correctional Institute in Lorain County.

Louis was forced to resign in 1990, but the suit accuses Diocese officials of failing to act earlier because they were concerned only "with shielding their public image."

Louis was reprimanded as early as 1981 for inappropriate contact with children, including patting a young girl's buttocks. Around that time one priest asked Louis to stop interacting with children, and another ordered him to seek psychiatric treatment, according to the suit.

The various sexual complaints against Louis should have put the Diocese on notice that he was dangerous, lawyers Ronald B. Lee and Mark A. Ropchock wrote in the lawsuit.

The suit says the plaintiff contacted the Diocese within a year of when his "repressed memory surfaced and allowed him to first realize that he had been sexually molested by Father Martin Louis."

The Diocese promised to reimburse him for his medical and psychological treatment, but never has, the suit said.


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