3 More Priests Accused in Lawsuits
7 Allegations of Abuse Are Filed, Total Number of Claims Reaches 67

By Gregory A. Hall
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
May 17, 2002

Three more priests, including one assigned to St. Patrick Catholic Church in Jefferson County, have been accused of sexual abuse in lawsuits filed yesterday against the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Those priests newly named in lawsuits include the Rev. James Hargadon, a retired priest assigned to St. Patrick; the Rev. Joseph Herp, who resigned last week as pastor of St. Leonard Church after an allegation was brought to the archdiocese; and the Rev. Robert Dollinger, who is retired.

In all, seven civil lawsuits were filed yesterday against the archdiocese, bringing the total number of sexual-abuse cases filed against it in recent weeks to 67. They contain allegations against 10 current, former or deceased priests, a parochial school teacher and a deacon.

The plaintiffs in yesterday's filings, all represented by William McMurry, say that the archdiocese knew or should have known of alleged abuse involving the priests. The complaints also allege that the archdiocese was negligent by employing a known abuser.

Cecelia Price, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said she would not comment on any of the allegations in the new lawsuits.

Other priests accused in yesterday's lawsuits are the Rev. Thomas P. Creagh, the Rev. Louis E. Miller and the late Rev. Arthur L. Wood.

Dollinger, Creagh and Miller couldn't be reached for comment yesterday. Herp and Hargadon were unavailable for comment last night, according to the archdiocese.

None of the priests are named as defendants. Claims made in lawsuits give one side of a case.

Todd Robertson's lawsuit says Hargadon invited Robertson, who is now 38, into the priest's sleeping quarters at St. Polycarp Church. There, between 1976 and 1979, Hargadon molested Robertson, the lawsuit states.

Price said the archdiocese learned yesterday of the allegation against Hargadon, who was ordained in 1955. The archdiocese wasn't aware of any prior allegations against Hargadon, she said.

She confirmed that Hargadon is assigned to St. Patrick.

Church officials must follow their policies and procedures, part of which involves interviewing the accused priest, before someone would be removed, Price said.

In a separate lawsuit, Kevin B. Spalding, now 27, says he was invited to Herp's apartment around 1990 because of a conflict with his mother. Herp sexually abused Spalding there, the lawsuit says.

Price said she could not comment on whether Spalding came to the archdiocese recently with the allegation because that person requested confidentiality.

In a third lawsuit filed yesterday, Christopher W. Brown, now 39, says that between 1973 and 1978, when he was an altar boy at St. Thomas Church in Bardstown, Dollinger abused him.

Dollinger, who was ordained in 1954, is retired and has been living in Canada since about 1983, Price said.

The remaining four lawsuits involve priests previously named in lawsuits.

Brian S. Woods, now 32, says Miller sexually molested him in the early 1980s when he was an altar boy at St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Miller previously has denied other allegations of abuse.

Douglas Devore's lawsuit says that around 1974, Creagh sexually abused him. The lawsuit does not say where the abuse occurred, although it says Creagh was assigned to St. Albert the Great Church at the time.

Creagh resigned last week as pastor at Holy Family Church.

Two lawsuits involve Wood.

Joseph J. Greenwell says in his lawsuit that when he was about 8 and a student at St. Elizabeth of Hungary School around 1960, Wood sexually abused him.

Charles A. Brown says that in 1966 or 1967, when he was about 11, Wood took him to the home of the priest's brother and abused him. The lawsuit says that over the next four years, Wood sodomized the boy, "gaining (Brown's) cooperation by paying him $10 to $15 each time," the lawsuit states.


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