Two Men Who Received Settlements from Diocese Suing Again

Associated Press State & Local Wire
April 26, 2002

Two Sacramento men who received settlements from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento after they accused a priest of abusing them are suing the diocese again.

The attorney for the two men said the previous settlements - one in 1985, the other in 1991 - were made under fraudulent circumstances because they were told there were no other victims.

"My clients were lied to," Kathryn Druliner told The Sacramento Bee. Diocese officials "took advantage of their trust in the church. They believed (officials) would do the right thing."

The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento Superior Court Thursday, does not contain a specific request for monetary damages. But last week diocese officials turned down a $5 million settlement for Druliner's clients.

In the lawsuit, Mike Beam and a man identified only as "Paul Doe" claim the diocese "falsely and fraudulently intended to deceive and coerce" them and "failed to adequately screen and investigate" the Rev. Michael Walsh.

Walsh is accused of getting the two men drunk and assaulting them after they asked him for advice. The separate incidents allegedly occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. Walsh has previously denied the allegations. Both cases were settled out of court.

The suit claims that a third person was also molested by Walsh. It states only that "she was under 18 at the time."

Druliner would not identify the person or provide details.

This is the third lawsuit filed this week against the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.

On Tuesday, two other men sued, claiming they were victims of sexual abuse by priests when they were children.

Diocesan officials said they will vigorously defend against the lawsuits. They said they have not yet seen the latest complaint and could not respond to the allegations, according to the Rev. James Murphy, a spokesman for the diocese.

Walsh was placed on leave after Paul Doe's allegations in 1985. Officials said he received treatment and left the Sacramento diocese for several years.

In 1999, he returned to Sacramento to work as the producer for a Catholic radio show. He lived at St. John Vianney Parish in Rancho Cordova, where he occasionally celebrated Mass.

Last month, following complaints from parents, Walsh moved out of the parish. He is now on a leave of absence at an undisclosed location.


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