Wilmington Diocese Paid $68,000 in Sex Abuse Case

By Beth Miller and Steven Church
News Journal [Wilmington Delaware]
October 7, 2005

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington on Thursday said it paid $68,000 to a Newark man last year and is negotiating another settlement with a Wilmington man, both of whom allege sexual abuse by a Wilmington priest in the early 1960s.

The late Rev. Alfred John Lind Jr. was ordained in 1960 and was serving at St. Catherine of Siena Church near Prices Corner when he is alleged by the Newark victim to have molested and performed oral sex on the then-altar boy in 1963 or 1964, when the boy was about 12 years old.

Lind was transferred in 1965 from St. Catherine to St. Elizabeth Church in Wilmington, where he is alleged to have performed oral sex on a 14-year-old altar boy, according to the victim.

Diocese attorney Anthony Flynn would not say if Lind was on the list of 26 priests against whom the diocese says credible allegations have been made. That list includes 20 diocesan priests and six from private religious orders.

Diocese spokesman Robert Krebs, who last week acknowledged two Delaware priests who were listed on a Philadelphia grand jury report, said he would not comment on "individual names" Thursday.

Diocesan officials have repeatedly refused to divulge the names of the offending priests, where they were serving at the time of their offenses, and the numbers and ages of their victims.

In January 2004, though, in response to researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Bishop Michael Saltarelli reported that 60 people had made allegations against Wilmington diocese priests in the 50-year span under study. The researchers were commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Lind withdrew from active ministry in 1965 and was listed on "sick leave" in a diocesan directory shortly after that.

He died of respiratory failure in 1996 at the Richardson Park home he shared with his mother. His obituary noted 12 years of work as a security guard in Wilmington but made no mention of his five years in the priesthood.

The Newark victim, now 54, said Lind took him to his room, gave him alcohol, molested and performed oral sex on him, then drove him back to his neighborhood in a Corvette, dropping the boy off several blocks from his house.

The diocese paid $68,000 last year to help settle that case, Flynn said. The money paid for part of the legal mediation costs associated with the case and should cover the cost of future counseling sessions, Flynn said.

The Wilmington victim, a plumbing contractor now in his 50s, has had professional and marital problems directly related to the past abuse, said his attorney, Joseph W. Benson.

"One of the issues is the professional help that he has sought," Benson said. "He is hoping that it will satisfy all the problems that he has had all these years."

That lawsuit is still in its early stages, with church officials and Benson trying to negotiate a settlement.

Contact Beth Miller at 324-2784

Contact Steven Church at 324-2786 or

The Rev. Alfred John Lind Jr.

June 4, 1960: Ordained at St. Peter's, Wilmington, by Bishop Michael W. Hyle. Assigned to St. Francis de Sales Church, Salisbury, Md.

1963: St. Catherine of Siena Church, Wilmington

1965: St. Elizabeth Church, Wilmington

1965: Withdrew from active ministry

Feb. 10, 1996: Died at home in Wilmington


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