Priest Hit in 10m Sex Suit

By Jose Martinez
Daily News
November 7, 2003

The Brooklyn diocese was hit with a $10 million lawsuit yesterday by a Catholic schoolgirl who said she was sexually abused for years by the former pastor of a Queens church.

The lawsuit by the girl, who is now 17, accuses the Rev. James Smith of molesting her from 1996 to 2000 at St. Kevin's Catholic Church in Flushing, where he was the pastor, and at his Long Island home.

Smith, a priest since the mid-1950s, has already been branded a pervert priest in a suit brought by 24 victims, whose allegations go back decades.

But attorney Michael Dowd, who has filed other lawsuits against Smith, says the statute of limitations won't protect the priest this time. "The church is saying it's cleaned up its act - but it just isn't true," said Dowd, who has forwarded the allegations to the Queens district attorney.

The alleged victim, whose mother worked at St. Kevin's, accuses Smith of touching her breasts and rubbing against her.

Smith stepped down as the parish's pastor last year after sex abuse allegations surfaced. He also lost a part-time job in the domestic violence unit of the Queens district attorney's office. The lawsuit also names as defendant Bishop Thomas Daily, who recently retired.

Officials with the Brooklyn diocese could not be reached last night.


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