Friday, September 23, 2005


2nd man alleges sex abuse by priest

Indianapolis - A 43-year-old Indianapolis man filed a sexual abuse lawsuit Thursday in Marion Superior Court against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, a defrocked Roman Catholic priest and his former parish.

The suit, in which the plaintiff is identified as "John Doe CT," alleges that then-Rev. Harry Monroe sexually abused him at St. Catherine Catholic Church in 1977.

Monroe was assigned to St. Catherine from 1976 to 1979. The church was merged with St. James in 1993 to form Good Shepherd Catholic Church.

This lawsuit comes after one filed Sept. 8 in which a 40-year-old man living out of state alleged Monroe had molested him repeatedly while he was a student at St. Andrew Catholic School in 1976.

Both lawsuits seek unspecified monetary damages from the archdiocese, which faces nine other sexual abuse lawsuits.

Patrick Noaker, the St. Paul, Minn., attorney handling this lawsuit and four others against the archdiocese, and archdiocesan officials say they do not know Monroe's whereabouts.

"Unfortunately, this case is really similar to the other case," said Noaker, whose law firm has filed nearly 500 priest sexual abuse cases nationally. "This kid was abused multiple times in and around the parish."

Monroe was "relieved of ministry" in 1984 because of allegations of sexual misconduct, said Susan Borcherts, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese. The lawsuit alleges the archdiocese knew or should have known of the alleged repeated sexual assaults and that unidentified officials looked the other way.

After the latest lawsuit was filed Thursday, victims' advocates gathered outside the archdiocese headquarters to urge more effort by Catholic leaders to weed out and disclose abuse.

"Our main goal is to encourage anyone who witnessed crimes by Monroe to come forward and get help and contact the police and prosecutors," said David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The advocates hand-delivered a letter to the archdiocese addressed to The Most Reverend Daniel M. Buechlein, archbishop of Indianapolis.

The letter urges Buechlein to reach out to those who say they have been victimized by Monroe and to prod current and former parishioners and employees to learn and disclose Monroe's whereabouts.

"Surely as a priest, Monroe no doubt did considerable good. We are not disputing that," the letter said. "We are, however, worried for those at risk around him now. They deserve to be warned. They deserve to be protected."

Borcherts said archdioscesan officials had not seen the lawsuit and do not comment on specific allegations. However, she said church officials have notified parishioners where Monroe served and asked them to come forward with any allegations.
Archdiocesan records show Monroe also was assigned to St. Monica in Indianapolis in 1975 and St. Patrick in Terre Haute from 1979 through 1981. He was placed on leave in 1981 before being assigned to St. Paul in Tell City from 1982 through 1984.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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