Five More Ex-Altar Boys Sue, Claim Abuse by Priest

By Adrian Angelette
Morning Advocate
July 31, 2004

Five more former altar boys have claimed sexual abuse at the hands of a former Louisiana priest in a lawsuit filed late Friday.

The five former altar boys, whose names were not disclosed in the lawsuit, allege that former priest Christopher Springer sexually abused them during a 12-year period between 1968 and 1980.

Houston attorney Felecia Peavy is representing the five former altar boys as well as Patrick Myers, another former altar boy who sued Springer, the Baton Rouge diocese and others in January 2003. Myers' lawsuit is still pending.

The names of defendants were also not included in the lawsuit, but their addresses were. The addresses indicate that the defendants in the lawsuit filed Friday are the same as those in the Myers case. They are Springer, Bishop Robert W. Muench; the Very Rev. Thomas Picton, vice provincial of The Redemptorists/New Orleans Vice Province; the Redemptorist order; and the diocese's insurance companies.

The Very Rev. Thomas D. Picton, vice provincial for the Redemptorist order, said he could not comment Friday because he had not been served a copy of the suit. Springer and diocesan officials could not be reached late Friday.

The latest lawsuit contends the abuse occurred while Springer worked as a Redemptorist or diocesan priest at St. Gerard Majella Prison, Our Lady of Lord's Parish in Slidell, St. Alphonsus Parish in New Orleans, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plaquemine, St. Pius X Church in Baton Rouge, St. Mary's of False River Catholic Church, Pointe Coupee Church and Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Clinton.

"This sexual abuse arose from the exercise of authority, power and access created by (Springer's) job assignments and official duties as a Catholic priest," the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit also contends that Redemptorist officials and officials with the Baton Rouge diocese knew or should have known about Springer's actions, but did nothing.

The lawsuit also says that the religious leaders were part of a widespread conspiracy to hide the actions of priests who had abused altar boys.

The lawsuit asks a judge to award damages to the former altar boys to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost earning capacity and other unspecified damages. The lawsuit also seeks punitive damages to "punish and deter the outrageous conduct taken in heedless and reckless disregard for the safety" of the former altar boys.


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