Man Sues Alexandria Diocese in Abuse Case

By Richard Burgess,
Daily Advertiser
February 2, 2005

A Texas man in his 60s said in a federal lawsuit that he has recovered repressed memories through therapy of being molested by a priest and seminary student here in 1955.

Robert P. Daigle is seeking $900,000 from the Diocese of Alexandria, where now-deceased the Rev. Leger Tremblay served from 1948 to 1981, and the Rev. Donald McCarthy, who was a seminary student in 1955 and now serves as a priest in Kansas.

Tremblay was removed from the priesthood in 1987 after an allegation of "an attempted, unwanted physical advance toward a minor" while he was serving in Shreveport, where he was assigned after leaving the Alexandria area, according to a statement from the Diocese of Shreveport.

Tremblay died in 2002, according to the statement.

McCarthy, who is 71, has served in the Diocese of Salina, Kansas, for 36 years.

He referred comment to Diocese of Salina spokesman the Rev. Barry Brinkman, who issued a written statement saying that no other allegations of inappropriate conduct have been made against the priest.

"The preliminary information received by the Diocese of Salina raised substantial questions about the accuracy of the allegation," the statement read. "More specifically, the physical description provided by the alleged victim does not match Fr. McCarthy's physical procedures."

The lawsuit stated that Daigle was 14 and living in Opelousas when Tremblay, after asking his parents' permission, took Daigle along on a trip to visit a friend in Cow Island.

The lawsuit states that McCarthy, who would have been 21 at the time, was allegedly driving.

Daigle alleges that both men molested him during the trip.

The memory of Tremblay surfaced in the late 1980s during counseling and the abuse was confirmed by the Diocese of Alexandria last year, according to the lawsuit.

Daigle's alleged memories of McCarthy surfaced last year after the man found mail the priest had sent him decades ago, according to Daigle's attorney, Paul Marx.

Marx said he could not discuss the specifics of the evidence in the lawsuit.

Lawsuits based on recovered memories of clergy abuse have been on the rise since the clergy sex abuse scandal in Boston Archdiocese broke in early 2002.

The recent lawsuit is the second known recovered memory case filed in south Louisiana.

Another case was filed in St. Landry Parish in 2003 by a man in his 40s who alleges that he recently recovered memories of being repeatedly molested by a priest while attending Catholic school in Grand Coteau.

That case, filed against the Diocese of Lafayette, is pending.


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