Catholic Priests Keep Jobs Despite Accusations of Sexual Abuse of Minors
According to a lawsuit filed July 15, 2019, two Catholic priests who were accused of sexually assaulting children, were allowed to remain on active duty in their churches. The lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court claims that the archdiocese was made aware of the priests’ alleged behavior. If the church knew about the abuse and concealed it, ignored it, or did not take steps to protect the minors, the archdiocese may be liable for damages to the victims.
Victim’s Wife Wants Accountability
The plaintiffs, in this case, are victims of sexual abuse or family members of victims. One plaintiff is the wife of someone who was sexually abused as a teenager by a clergy member. The victim committed suicide in 2003. The lawsuit alleges that this man reported his abuse at the hands of Father Donald Timone, who was allowed back to work after a brief suspension and internal investigation. The church paid his wife a settlement in 2017 after she filed a formal complaint against Timone on behalf of her deceased husband. After the payout, the lawsuit alleges, the church “vouched for” Timone, writing to the Diocese in San Diego that Timone “hasn’t been the target of sexual abuse claims.
Victim Claims Church Ignored Allegations of Sexual Abuse
The lawsuit also contains allegations that Monsignor John Paddack sexually abused one of the plaintiffs in the early 2000s. The suit claims that the archdiocese received an additional complaint about Paddack in 2014. The lawsuit accuses the archdiocese of keeping these complaints about sexual abuse secret and allowing Paddack to continue his work at the Church of Notre Dame.
Is the Catholic Church Responsible for Damages?
Some questions and legal issues that might arise in this case surround the Church’s obligation or duty to protect minors from sexual abuse.
- Did the church know about the abuse?
- Did the church investigate?
- Was the investigation reasonably thorough?
- Should they have done more?
- Did the church expose other minors to danger by keeping these priests on duty?
- Did other children suffer abuse after the church became aware of the allegations?
- Did the church lie about its knowledge of sexual abuse allegations?
The Archdiocese’s Response
The archdiocese stated that the earlier complaints of sexual abuse against these men were investigated or reviewed and found to be unsubstantiated. Whether they did enough, remains to be seen.
In response to the lawsuit, the archdiocese issued the following statement:
“The allegations against Fr. Timone and Fr. Paddack were shared with law enforcement, and both are currently out of ministry while the archdiocese investigates these new allegations against them.”
Call Our Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Contact Alonso Krangle LLP if a clergy member sexually abused you or someone you love. Our lawyers are handling sexual abuse cases that involve priests, rabbis, pastors, bishops, religious teachers, Baptists, and more. Call Alonso Krangle, LLP today at 516-350-5555 for a free case evaluation.