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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee




Ex-Indiana priest accused of abuse

Ex-Indiana priest accused of abuse

INDIANAPOLIS – An attorney for four men who have brought sexual abuse claims against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis alleged Wednesday that it repeatedly transferred an abusive priest to increasingly rural parishes as accounts mounted of him molesting boys.

Attorney Patrick Noaker said the priest in question, Harry E. Monroe, abused at least a dozen boys in Indianapolis, Terre Haute and Perry County along the Ohio River before the late Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara removed him from ministry in 1984.

The allegations, if true, amount to the largest individual case to come to light in Indiana of church fathers repeatedly transferring a priest known to have sexually molested children and not warning his new parishioners of his proclivities.

Noaker on Tuesday filed two new lawsuits accusing Monroe of sexually abusing two altar boys while he was at the now-closed St. Catherine Parish on the south side of Indianapolis in 1977 and 1978. The complaints also named the archdiocese as a defendant and accuse it of negligence, fraud and other charges for covering up his sexual molestation history from a previous posting at St. Andrew Parish on the city’s northeast side.

“What’s tragic about this is they could have prevented this,” Noaker said of church leaders, none of whom is named in the lawsuits.

Neither an attorney for Monroe nor an archdiocese spokeswoman would comment on Noaker’s allegations.

Noaker, based in Minneapolis, portrayed Monroe as a chronic child molester whose actions were known to his superiors in the church at the time, more than 20 years ago.

Monroe was ordained in 1974 and transferred among three parishes over the next two years before church officials moved him out of Indianapolis to Terre Haute, and then, after a year on leave, to an even quieter assignment – a cluster of three parishes in the Perry County towns of Tell City, Cannelton and Troy.

The greatest number of boys might have been molested at the Terre Haute posting, St. Patrick Parish, said Noaker, who represents scores of plaintiffs across the country who have filed sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church.

“This Monroe case is exactly the kind of case that you fear in this community,” Noaker said. “I’m telling you, the archdiocese knows of at least six children that he molested down there.”

Brian Ciyou, an Indianapolis attorney representing Monroe in the first two lawsuits, said he had no firsthand knowledge of the allegations against his client. He also said he was not at liberty to disclose Monroe’s whereabouts.

In the first two lawsuits against Monroe, a 40-year-old man now living out of state alleges he was molested at St. Andrew between 1975 and 1977, and a man in his 40s claims Monroe abused him in 1977 at St. Catherine’s.