Lawsuit: archdiocese knew of abuse charges as it moved
By The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 11:16 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS - The Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis knew
about six allegations of child sexual abuse against a priest when it placed him
in a rural parish where he molested again, a lawsuit filed Wednesday
The archdiocese, meanwhile, fended off a call by an abuse
survivors group to appoint a non-attorney as its staff member who coordinates
aid to sexual abuse victims.
The lawsuit, the fifth in two months to accuse the Rev. Harry E.
Monroe of molesting young male parishioners, was filed in Marion Superior Court
against the former priest and the 240,000-member archdiocese. The unidentified
plaintiff alleges Monroe molested him at St. Paul Parish in Tell City over the
two years before the archdiocese removed him from ministry in 1984.
litigation against Monroe and the archdiocese took a darker turn with the latest
complaint, however, because it alleges church leaders were aware of at least six
molesting complaints against Monroe when they transferred him to arguably the
most remote corner of the 39-county diocese, a small Ohio River community midway
between Louisville, Ky., and Evansville.
He was taken and placed in a rural parish where I'm sure the
archdiocese thought that he couldn't get them in trouble,'' said attorney
Patrick Noaker of Minneapolis, who represents each of the plaintiffs suing
The archdiocese issued a statement saying it could not comment on
the sexual abuse lawsuit - the 13th currently in which it is a defendant - but
it expressed its sympathy for the victims.
We are especially hurt when we read or hear allegations of
sexual abuse of children by our own clergy,'' the statement said. It urged abuse
victims to contact police and Suzanne Yakimchick, the archdiocese's chancellor
and its lead officer for assisting victims.
Monroe now lives in
Nashville, Tenn., and a telephone number listed there for a Harry E. Monroe has
been disconnected. A message was left seeking comment from Brian Ciyou, an
Indianapolis attorney representing Monroe in other lawsuits.
alleged six minor boys reported abuse by Monroe to the archdiocese between 1979
and 1981. Noaker said in an interview the six all were parishioners at Terre
Haute's St. Patrick Parish while Monroe was assigned there and that they and
their families together reported the abuse to church officials.
plaintiffs in the earlier lawsuits allege Monroe molested them while he was
assigned to St. Andrew and St. Catherine parishes in Indianapolis in the late
Noaker said he expected to file claims on behalf of other alleged
victims in Tell City and Terre Haute.
A victims group, meanwhile,
distributed a letter it sent to Archbishop Daniel Buechlein on Wednesday calling
on him to replace Yakimchick as its victim assistance coordinator because she is
It's inherently problematic and deceptive to employ a
lawyer in this capacity, especially given the fragile condition of many who
approach the church to get help or report a child molester,'' said the letter
from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
instead should be filled with therapists, the letter said.
archdiocese said that Yakimchick, in addition to being an attorney, is a trained
pastoral care worker with experience at an Indianapolis mental health center and
as a welfare case worker