Two More Abuse Lawsuits Filed against Archdiocese of Louisville
One Has the First Allegations against a Retired Priest

By Hall Gregory
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
April 2, 2003

Two more lawsuits were filed yesterday against the Archdiocese of Louisville, including one accusing a retired priest of sexually abusing a child - the first-known allegations against him.

Hugh McCarty, 49, alleges in his lawsuit that in the late 1960s and in the spring of 1971 the Rev. James W. Thompson took him on several out-oftown trips while McCarty was a student at St. Mary's High School in Marion County.

The complaint alleges that Thompson, who was the rector of the minor seminary, sexually molested and assaulted McCarty on trips to the Bahamas and Florida. It was the first time Thompson's name has appeared as part of the abuse scandal involving the Roman Catholic Church.

Thompson, 85, is living in a nursing home, according to Cecelia Price, spokeswoman for the archdiocese. Thompson was ordained in 1944 and retired in 1988, she said.

Attempts to contact McCarty and Thompson were unsuccessful yesterday.

In the second lawsuit filed yesterday, Evelyn Abell McKemie accused Joseph E. Carrico, a former priest, of abusing her during the summer of 1968 or 1969 in the swimming pool at her family's home.

McKemie, 46, says that Carrico was a family friend while he was assigned to St. Barnabas Church, where she and her family were parishioners.

Both plaintiffs are represented by William McMurry, the attorney for nearly all of the more than 200 plaintiffs who have filed suit against the archdiocese.

The lawsuits allege that church officials knew of the abuse or should have known and failed to address it.

Price declined to comment on pending litigation yesterday. In previous lawsuits with similar language, the archdiocese has denied those allegations.

Carrico, now a part-time religious educator at St. Gregory parish in Samuels, was suspended with pay by the archdiocese last week after Lysha Beckman Sitzman filed the first lawsuit accusing him of abuse.

Carrico was ordained in 1967 and left the priesthood in 1973, Price said. He served as an associate pastor at St. Barnabas between 1967 and 1970.

In an interview yesterday, the former priest denied the allegations in both lawsuits. Carrico said he remembers the Abell family, but not the plaintiff specifically.

McKemie said in an interview that she hadn't come forward with her accusations earlier because "I didn't want anybody to know."

In an e-mailed statement, she said she came forward yesterday morning after imagining Sitzman "standing out there all by herself" while Carrico denied the allegation.

"I never told anyone until this morning at 5 a.m., when I told my husband, Gordon," McKemie said. "I said that I had to call the attorney because Lysha was alone."

In the interview, McKemie said she wasn't surprised that someone has accused Carrico.

"I've been watching for his name. I just didn't have the guts to do it. She did."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.