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Seventh lawsuit claims ex-Indiana priest abused boy

Seventh lawsuit claims ex-Indiana priest abused boy

Posted on 02/07/06
Associated Press

A seventh man is suing a former Catholic priest and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis over alleged sexual abuse more than 20 years ago, his attorney said Tuesday.

The plaintiff, identified in court papers only as John Doe 141, alleges in an eight-count complaint that Harry Monroe committed the abuse in 1983 or 1984 while assigned by the archdiocese to St. Paul Parish in Tell City, 40 miles east of Evansville. The case was to be filed Tuesday in Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis.

The 34-year-old plaintiff, who now lives outside Indiana, was an altar boy at the time of the abuse, said his attorney, Patrick Noaker of St. Paul, Minn.

Monroe allegedly took the plaintiff to a fishing spot, plied him with alcohol and fondled him, Noaker said in a telephone interview.

The archdiocese, a co-defendant in each of the lawsuits, assigned Monroe to the remote area after it had received allegations that the priest had abused boys or acted inappropriately with them during prior assignments at parishes in Indianapolis and Terre Haute, Noaker said.

"The archdiocese knew he was a risk," Noaker said.

The archdiocese does not comment on pending lawsuits but encourages people to come forward if they have been a victim of sexual misconduct by any person ministering on behalf of the church, spokesman Greg Otolski said.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis stripped Monroe of his ministry in 1984.

Monroe is believe to be living in the Nashville, Tenn., area. The Associated Press left a message seeking comment with an attorney representing Monroe, Brian Ciyou of Indianapolis.

Publicity about the cases against Monroe has caused other men to come forward with their own claims, Noaker said. He said he expected to file additional cases on behalf of some of these men. Others claiming to have been abused by Monroe have chosen not to sue.

"These guys are suffering in secrecy and shame. Sometimes they put it out of their brain," Noaker said.

Some want to know why Monroe was assigned to other parishes after the initial allegations against him.

"A lot of these guys, they just want to know what happened."

Noaker and his partner, Jeffrey Anderson, have represented more than 2,000 plaintiffs suing the church and its clergy over childhood sexual abuse.

"The number of litigants in this case places Monroe as one of the most prolific abusers," Noaker said.


Archdiocese of Indianapolis:

Noaker-Anderson law firm: