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  Home :: 2006 December :: Diocese sued for alleged abuse by priest 
Diocese sued for alleged abuse by priest

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A former Marine andVietnam veteran filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Roman CatholicDiocese of Wilmington and a church in the city, accusing them of doingnothing to stop a priest from sexually abusing him and other boys inthe 1950s and 60s.

The diocese has acknowledged that the Rev.Edward B. Carley, who died in 1998 at age 82, abused a young maleparishioner during his time as the assistant pastor at St. Ann'sCatholic Church, from 1954 to 1962.

The diocese paid $65,000 to that parishioner, John F. Dougherty Jr., toreimburse him for counseling he said he needed as a result of theabuse. Dougherty said Carley raped him when he was 10 years old and wasserving as an altar boy at St. Ann's, and that Carley abused himrepeatedly for several years afterward.

Douglas J. McClure, the plaintiff in the lawsuit filedThursday, was a classmate of Dougherty's. Carley molested McClure twoto three times a week over a period of two years, when McClure wasbetween 8 and 10 years old, said his attorney, Thomas Neuberger.

"Iam just one of many victims, but I encourage others who have sufferedin silence for so long also to come forward," McClure said in astatement. Neuberger did not allow McClure to speak to reporters, butMcClure did say in response to a question at a news conference that theabuse has caused him to lose his religious faith.

Bob Krebs, a spokesman for the diocese, said he had not seen a copy of the lawsuit and had no comment.

Accordingto the complaint, McClure, 60, psychologically suppressed all memoriesof the abuse until January 2005, when he read newspaper accounts ofDougherty's claims.

The claim of suppressed memories could provecrucial to McClure's case. Delaware has a two-year statute oflimitations for civil claims, but a New Castle County judge ruledearlier this month that another man could pursue his claim against apriest because he filed the lawsuit within two years of the date hesaid memories of his abuse surfaced.

The lawsuit alleges that thediocese and St. Ann's were aware of the abuse but did nothing to stopit, instead transferring Carley to St. Peter's Cathedral and then toseveral parishes on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where he allegedlycontinued to molest children. Carley retired from active ministry in1993.

According to the lawsuit, Carley was independently wealthy,and he frequently bought toys and sporting equipment for boys and tookthem on overnight trips away from their parents. He also allegedlymolested boys while discussing spiritual matters, such as explainingthe mystery of the Eucharist.

Carley was one of 20 suspectedpedophile priests whose names were released in November by the diocese,which also dedicated this year's Advent season to victims of clergysexual abuse and their families.

Under Delaware law, plaintiffsare not permitted to state the amount of monetary damages they areseeking, but Neuberger said "this is without a doubt a case whose valueexceeds a million dollars."

"His case is a very substantialcase," Neuberger said. "If you think of being victimized two to threetimes a week, 200 to 300 times (total), the jury is going to have toassess a value to each sexual assault."

Neuberger's firm is alsorepresenting two other men who claim they were abused by priests,including Eric Eden, whose case led to the ruling that allowed lawsuitsbased on suppressed memories to go forward if they were filed withintwo years of when the memories surfaced.

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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia