Lawsuit Alleges Abuse by Clergy
Suit Filed against Archdiocese Is the 2nd This Year Identifying Priest Who Died in '90

By Rob Schneider
Indianapolis Star
August 11, 2004

A lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis alleges sexual abuse of an altar boy by the same priest named in a lawsuit filed earlier this year.

The most recent complaint was filed on behalf of a man identified only as Daniel N. He was born in 1950 and suffered the abuse more than 40 years ago while attending St. Mary's Parish in Richmond, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit identifies the Rev. William Blackwell as the priest responsible for the abuse. Blackwell, who served a number of assignments within the archdiocese, died Feb. 2, 1990.

The archdiocese could not comment on the lawsuit, as it had just been filed, said spokeswoman Susan Borcherts.

"We want people to know we are deeply troubled when we hear of allegations of sexual abuse of children by our own clergy, church employees or our church volunteers," Borcherts said.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of such crimes."

According to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Eric Allan Koch, of Bloomington, Daniel N. came into contact with Blackwell at St. Mary's, where he served as an altar boy and attended school between 1956 and 1961.

During that time, the youth was repeatedly sexually assaulted at locations including the sacristy and the rectory, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit charges that the archdiocese and other unnamed people "had reason to know or were otherwise on notice of the unlawful sexual conduct by the priest." In addition, they failed to implement reasonable safeguards to avoid acts of unlawful sexual conduct in the future by Blackwell, the suit claims.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

A similar lawsuit was filed against the archdiocese in February in the case of a 57-year-old man identified as Robert M.

Robert M. was sexually assaulted by Blackwell from 1957 to 1961 at St. Mary's and at Blackwell's parents' home, that lawsuit claims.

Victim assistance

The Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis has a victim-assistance coordinator, Suzanne L. Yakimchick, to help anyone who believes they have been a victim or who knows of someone who has been a victim of sexual abuse by someone working on behalf of the archdiocese.

Yakimchick can be reached at (317) 236-7325 or (800) 382-9836, ext. 7325. Or, write to her at Archdiocese of Indianapolis, P.O. Box 1410, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1410.

Contact: ROB.SCHNEIDER@INDYSTAR.COM or call Star reporter Rob Schneider at (317) 444-6278.


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