Eight New Lawsuits Allege Sex Abuse by Priests, Teacher

By Hall Gregory
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
April 10, 2003

Eight new lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests and a teacher were filed yesterday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville.

The new suits bring the total filed against the archdiocese in the past year to 233; five have been settled. The suits contend the archdiocese knew or should have known of the alleged abusers' behavior and tried to cover it up. The archdiocese has denied any cover-up in previous lawsuits.

The new suits allege abuse by six priests and one teacher, who have all been named in previous litigation. None of the people accused in the suits is named as a defendant.

Among the eight suits is one accusing the Rev. Thomas E. Creagh. Memos written by Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly show he learned in 1983 that Creagh abused a boy and that the archbishop allowed the priest to continue working in Louisville parishes. The new suit alleges Brandon M. Howard, now 20, was abused by Creagh between 1990 and 1997.

The other suits filed yesterday name the Rev. Louis E. Miller; Joseph E. Carrico, a former priest; the Rev. Joseph T. Herp; the late Rev. John Elder; the late Rev. Daniel Emerine; and former teacher Joseph B. Greene.

Seven of the eight plaintiffs are represented by attorney William McMurry, who has filed the bulk of the suits against the archdiocese since last April. The man accusing Greene of abuse is represented by Barry M. Trifiletti.

Here are the details of the suits that accuse people other than Creagh:

— Two name Miller, including one by the eighth relative of the retired priest to accuse him of abuse. In all, 89 suits have named Miller.

A lawsuit by Richard J. Mudd said that between about 1964 and 1966, he would visit Miller at SS. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital. Miller was chaplain at the hospital; Mudd is his nephew, according to McMurry.

The complaint alleged that on several occasions during those visits Miller abused Mudd, who was between the ages of 11 and 13. The alleged abuse first occurred in Miller's room at the hospital and later in Miller's apartment near the hospital.

Another plaintiff, Victor Slinker, now 43, alleged in his suit that in 1971 Miller sexually abused him when he was a patient at the hospital.

Miller pleaded guilty last month in Jefferson Circuit Court to 50 sexual abuse felonies involving 21 children. His sentencing is May 27. Miller also faces 14 felony charges regarding eight people in Oldham Circuit Court, where he has pleaded innocent and is awaiting a June 9 trial.

Miller is scheduled to give a deposition in the civil cases on May 22. He has been permanently barred from ministry.

— The suit naming Carrico was filed yesterday by Mary Abell Chandler, who McMurry said is the sister of Evelyn Abell McKemie, who filed suit last week.

Chandler, now 48, alleged that Carrico abused her in the summer of 1969 at a neighbor's swimming pool.

An attempt to contact Carrico yesterday was unsuccessful. He has denied abusing anyone in response to two of the three previous suits naming him and is on paid leave from his part-time job as a religious educator at a parish in Samuels, Ky.

— Phillip R. Vandeveer filed a lawsuit naming Herp. McMurry said he also represents the man's brother, John Vandeveer, in a previous case accusing Herp. In addition a third suit has named Herp, who has been permanently barred from ministry.

Vandeveer, now 38, alleged in his suit that in the summer of 1979, Herp sexually abused him when he was invited to spend the night in the priest's sleeping quarters at the rectory of St. Ann's Church.

— Barbara Ann Ciresi, now 60, alleged in her suit that Elder sexually abused her in the rectory of St. John's parish around 1959. Ciresi's lawsuit is the fourth to name Elder.

— A lawsuit by Vicki Ash Froman, now 51, alleged Emerine sexually abused her on several occasions beginning in 1959 when she was 7. The lawsuit, the seventh to name Emerine, also names Emerine's order, The Province of Our Lady of Consolation Inc. in Mount St. Francis, Ind., as a defendant.

— James Steven Botner alleged that Greene, who taught him at St. Gabriel School, abused him over a five-year period. Botner, now 35, is named as an alleged victim in a criminal indictment pending against Greene in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Botner's civil lawsuit is the third to name Greene. The other two were filed by brothers also named in the criminal case. One brother's civil case has been settled.

An archdiocesan spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuits, citing its policy not to discuss pending litigation.


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