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Church Under Fire, Teen Alleges Abuse

February 11th, 2008 by flanews

A Bonifay couple has filed suit against the Catholic Church for failing to prevent their 15 year daughter from being abused by a priest. The suit names a priest who has since moved to India as part of a plea agreement in the case, as well as the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, and Bishop John Richard. The parents, who are not being identified because it would identify their daughter, said their daughter was kissed and then assaulted. Sexual intercourse did not take place. The biggest concern the parents and their lawyer have is how the church has responded.

“They’ve done everything but ignore us and we want to know where this man is now,” said the mother. “We want to make sure he is out of this country so he won’t hurt no other children, hopefully in the world, but in this country.”

“Based on evidence on how the church has handled other child predators, we think there is a very strong possibility, probability, that he had done this before, that they knew about it that they didn’t take action, and indeed we don’t have reassurance that they’ve even taken action now to protect children in India,” said Joe Saunders, the victim’s attorney.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money. The family is being assisted by a national group known as SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The Catholic Church has declined to comment until they get a chance to read the lawsuit.

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