by Adrian MojicaThursday, July 25th 2019
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--A Tennessee man is suing the Diocese of Knoxville, alleging he was exposed to "horrific acts of childhood sexual abuse" by a priest and others.
Filed in the Sixth Circuit Court of Knox County in Knoxville, Blount County resident Michael Boyd's lawsuit claims Catholic Priest Father Xavier Mankel and other sexually abused Boyd and their alleged actions were covered up by the diocese.
The suit alleges during Mankel's time as pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral Boyd served as an altar boy starting at the age of 10. Boyd states Mankel had become aware from another priest Boyd had been abused at home, a topic Boyd told the other priest during confession.
The suit claims Mankel then used that information to "take advantage of, groom and exploit" Boyd. The suit states the inappropriate contact with Father Mankel began in the 4th grade and continued for a couple years, expanding to include Bishop Anthony O-Connell, other visiting priests, and a school music teacher.
Boyd's claims include fondling, grooming and other sexual activity for years. When Boyd told his gym teacher of the abuse, the gym teacher later included Mankel in a meeting despite promising not to tell him. Boyd's suit claims he was then threatened and told his family would end up homeless, his brother expelled and that "no one would believe him."
The suit states it was not until 2018 that Boyd called the Diocese to report the abuse and filed a report with Knoxville Police.
Boyd's suit was filed against the Diocese of Knoxville as a whole for their failure to protect Boyd and "intentionally concealing the culpable conduct of Father Mankel and others."
The suit was filed on July 18 and seeks a jury trial for damages against Boyd.
See the full lawsuit below