3 More File Sex Abuse Suits against Former City Priest

By Lauren Todd
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 12, 2004

Three more civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse were filed Thursday against the former Rev. Michael McGrath, who faces more such allegations than any priest in the area.

The suits allege that McGrath abused three boys, ages 12 to 15, between 1982 and 1988 in his van during field trips and at his home. The boys belonged to St. Bernadette's Church and St. Simon the Apostle Church at the time. The lawsuits seek unspecified damages.

Susan Carlson, one of the lawyers representing the victims, said suits were filed in St. Louis Circuit Court against McGrath, the St. Louis Archdiocese and Archbishop Raymond Burke.

Several members of the support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, lawyers representing the victims and another plaintiff suing McGrath assembled for a news conference outside the archdiocesan chancery office in the Central West End.

SNAP intended to light 17 candles to symbolize each victim alleging sexual abuse by McGrath, but windy weather prevented that.

The latest suits identify the alleged victims as John Doe SP, John Doe RS1 and John Doe 108. Two of the victims still live in the St. Louis area.

Monsignor Richard Stika said the archdiocese has no comment on the suits. He emphasized that McGrath has not worked in the church for years. He also said he supported the St. Louis Archdiocese's reaction to the sex abuse allegations.

"I believe the archdiocese is doing their best to reach out to victims," Stika said.

He encouraged other victims and those who knew about sexual abuse in the church to come forward.

McGrath, 57, grew up in St. Louis and lives in Richmond Heights. He was a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis from 1975 to 1997. He was removed from active duty as a priest in 1997. He has worked as a Bi-State bus driver. He has never been charged with a crime.


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