Details of Five Cases Released
Plaintiffs Allege Abuse Occurred in 1960s and '70s

By Art Jester
Lexington Herald Leader
August 10, 2002

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling yesterday allowed the unsealing of allegations by plaintiffs who say they were sexually abused by priests in the Catholic dioceses of Lexington and Covington.

Robert Treadway, who represents the plaintiffs, released a copy of his lawsuit without stricken allegations that remain under court seal.

The following allegations appear in the lawsuit:

Samuel Lee Edwards Graywolf of Nicholasville alleges that in the mid-1970s, when he was about 15 and a foster child under state care, he was molested by a priest at the rectory of Cathedral of Christ the King.

Graywolf says he does not know the priest's identity.

Graywolf alleges that the priest invited him to the rectory, where he provided the youth with alcoholic beverages. According to the lawsuit, the sexual abuse involved "both the touching of Graywolf's genitals, and of oral sexual relations between the priest and Graywolf."

James Mahan of Los Angeles, formerly of Lexington, alleges that he was molested by the Rev. Leonard Nienaber in the mid-1960s at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary School.

The lawsuit alleges: "The sexual molestation of Mahan consisted of Nienaber's taking Mahan out of his regular classes, taking him to the bathroom of the school, and sodomizing him either through the insertion of Nienaber's penis into Mahan's anus, or the insertion of some other device or object into Mahan's anus."

William Lalley of Lexington, who attended Catholic school in Maysville as a youth, alleges that when he was in the seventh grade, in about 1968, he was molested by the Rev. Earl Bierman. The lawsuit says Bierman's alleged abuse included "both fondling of Lalley's genitals, or oral sexual relations."

Edwin Gonzalez of Lexington, who moved here from Puerto Rico in the early 1970s at about age 22, alleges he was abused by a priest at St. Peter Claver Church whose last name he believes to be Maury.

Gonzalez, who developed an alcohol problem and did not speak English well at the time, alleges that the priest gave him alcohol, even though he knew about Gonzalez's alcohol problem, and molested him at the church rectory. According to the lawsuit, the molestation consisted of "both the fondling of Gonzalez's genitals, and the attempt at oral sexual relations."

Gonzalez alleges that "Father Maury" repeated this behavior several times. Gonzalez "broke the cycle of abuse" by going to a priest in Nicholas-ville whose name he does not remember but who helped him overcome his dependence on alcohol.

Kay Montgomery of Lexington, a native of Owensboro, alleges that in 1967, while she attended the Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Ind., she was sexually molested by a priest identified to her as the Rev. Ed Fritsch.

The lawsuit says Fritsch often visited the boarding school on Sundays, when he took Montgomery for rides in his car away from the campus and sexually molested her. This occurred, the lawsuit says, after Fritsch assured the nuns who ran the boarding school that he was Montgomery's "counselor or spiritual adviser."

The lawsuit says that Montgomery later learned that Fritsch was a priest in the Covington Diocese, although some of her family members recall his being at their home parish, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Owensboro, before she went to boarding school.

Lexington area churches were in the Covington Diocese until the Lexington Diocese was created in 1988.

Fritsch could not be reached for comment.

Two priests named in the lawsuit have been involved in previous abuse cases.

Bierman was convicted in 1993 and sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting six young males when he was a teacher at Covington Latin School.

In 1994, Nienaber pleaded guilty to charges of sex abuse crimes from 1964 to 1977, while he was pastor at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary. Nienaber, then 87, was sentenced to 10 years in an alternative sentencing program for members of the religious order who need treatment and psychotherapy.


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