New accusation surfaces in Philadelphia church sex abuse scandal

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 25, 2012 9:18 PM
New accusation surfaces in Philadelphia church sex abuse scandal

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania man sued the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Wednesday for alleged sexual abuse by a priest, marking the 10th civil suit filed against the church since a 2011 grand jury report detailed sexual abuse by clergy in the area.

The suit names Rev. John R. Liggio, the archdiocese and the Order of St. Augustine, which it claimed provides teachers to the school. It alleges a priest at suburban Malvern Preparatory School sexually abused a youth in 1997 and 1998. The student was under the age of 16 at the time of the alleged abuse.

The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

"He did so by using physical, intellectual, moral, emotional and psychological force," according to the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia's Common Pleas Court.

The alleged victim, now 29, was not named.

Officials at the archdiocese could not be immediately reached for comment.

A sweeping sex abuse scandal has rocked the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the nation's sixth largest with 1.5 million members.

Marci Hamilton, one of the civil lawyers who represents the man and seven alleged victims in other cases, told Reuters she expects more suits to come.

"There are literally dozens of potential clients," said Hamilton, who worked with the Philadelphia District Attorney in writing an earlier grand jury report on the church in 2005.

"The frustrating part of this job is that so many are barred by the statute of limitations," she said.

Under Pennsylvania law, victims must file lawsuits before they reach the age of 30.

On Tuesday, Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking clergyman convicted in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church scandal, was sentenced to up to six years in prison for covering up child sex abuse by priests in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia prosecutors said this week that they would hold a new trial for Reverend James Brennan on charges of attempted rape.

(Editing by Kevin Gray and Stacey Joyce)