Man Accused Files Counterclaim

Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
February 4, 2003

Raymond Tremblay, who is charged in a civil suit with sexually abusing a local man when he was a religious education teacher at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, has filed a counterclaim against the man who brought the suit.

The counterclaim, which was filed against Timothy P. Staney as part of Mr. Tremblay's answer to the suit, charges Mr. Staney with slander and asks for compensatory damages.

James Gribouski, lawyer for Mr. Tremblay, did not return calls yesterday seeking comment.

Mr. Staney of Worcester, who alleges in a civil suit filed in Worcester Superior Court last fall that he was abused by Mr. Tremblay of Worcester and the Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon, said he does not know what they expect to get from him.

"I don't own any property. Do they want my computer? I built it myself and no one else would know how to use it," he said.

Mr. Staney and his parents, Corrine and Joseph Staney of Spencer, filed the suit against Mr. Tremblay and the Rev. Gagnon but only Timothy Staney is named in the counterclaim.

Daniel J. Shea of Houston, lawyer for Mr. Staney, said it is an attempt to discredit Mr. Staney and cast doubt on his allegations.

David Clohessy, national director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the action against Mr. Staney is one of several cases going on in the United States where priests have sued alleged victims. In the Worcester situation, the counterclaim has been filed by a former church worker and not a priest.

Mr. Clohessy was in Worcester recently for the first meeting of the local SNAP group. He said he heard about the counterclaim and decided to offer public support to Mr. Staney.

"It's a sad turn," said Patrick Noaker of St. Paul, Minn., a lawyer who specializes in sexual abuse cases. He is representing Arthur Andreas of St. Louis. The St. Louis Archdiocese issued a public call for victims of sexual misconduct by priests to come forward, Mr. Noaker said. "Mr. Andreas answered that call and he did it confidentially," he said. No suit was filed and Mr. Andreas never made his allegation public.

Mr. Noaker said the St. Louis Archdiocese eventually absolved the Rev. Alex Anderson and the priest then filed a defamation suit against Mr. Andreas. The suit is still pending.

Mr. Noaker said he believes the countersuit tactic is intended, and in some instances is recommended and abetted by bishops, as a way of putting a "chill" on victims coming forward. "In some cases it seems to be working," Mr. Noaker said.

Mr. Clohessy said SNAP believes filing of countersuits and claims violates the norms adopted last year by the American bishops on how sexual abuse allegations are to be handled.

The SNAP director said other countersuits have been filed against people who have brought suit against allegedly abusive priests in Cleveland; Oklahoma City; Tulsa, Okla.; and Orange County, Calif.

According to the suit filed by Mr. Staney, Mr. Tremblay began using his role as religious educator to sexually molest and abuse Mr. Staney in several incidents, beginning in 1980 when he was 10 and a member of Holy Name of Jesus parish. The alleged abuse continued until he was 15.

Mr. Staney said the incidents happened at Mr. Tremblay's residence in Worcester and at Holy Name of Jesus Church and school, 51-55 Illinois St., and at other locations.

According to Mr. Staney's suit, the Rev. Gagnon learned of the abuse by Mr. Tremblay when Mr. Staney told him about it during confession. The priest "armed with that information, in effect, 'took over' from Tremblay as the molester," according to the suit.

The Rev. Gagnon then molested and sexually abused Mr. Staney in "multiple incidents" inside the rectory at 51 Illinois St., at the Staney family home in Spencer, and in two incidents at the Rev. Gagnon's summer home at Quinebaug Cove Campground, Brimfield, according to the suit.


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