Catholic Diocese of Lafayette face lawsuit on sexual abuse allegations of former priest

The victim, now an adult, claimed he was molested in 1982 when he was minor. He named his abuser as Father James J. Grear.

Posted: Sep 27, 2018 7:27 PM
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 12:59 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette is being sued for refusing to acknowledge and address a sexual abuse claim involving a former priest.

The victim, now an adult, claimed he was molested in 1982 when he was minor. He named his abuser as Father James J. Grear. The Catholic Diocese of Lafayette confirmed that Grear was ordained a priest in 1970.

The lawsuit filed in Hamilton County said the victim was abused by Father Grear while attending a Catholic youth rally at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish. That church is located in Carmel in Hamilton County.

The report said the victim then returned to his home parish, Saint Ann, located in Monterey Indiana in Pulaski County.

Both churches are in the Lafayette Diocese jurisdiction.

The lawsuit said after he was molested, he attended confession at Saint Ann's with Bishop Raymond Gallagher where he told the Bishop about the abuse.

The suit says the Bishop told the victim to forget about the abuse, pray to God for forgiveness, and not disclose the abuse to anyone else.

Grear was a priest that tended to not stay long in any given place.

The lawsuit says In 1972 he was assigned to be a chaplain at Ball State University. In 1974, he is listed as being assigned “on duty outside diocese” at Brebeuf Preparatory School, which is part of Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

1976 through 1979 found him in the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona.He was moved around to various positions during his time in Arizona. In 1987, he was assigned to the South Bronx Pastoral Center in the Archdiocese of New York.

In 1990, he was assigned to a school in the territory of Guam.

However, the lawsuit said from 1980 through 1985, he was not listed in the Official Catholic Directory. This is the period of time in which John Doe claims he was sexually abused.

The lawsuit claimed that the Lafayette Diocese knew that Grear had sexually abused other boys before, during, and after the time that John Doe is recalling.

This is not the first time a lawsuit has been filed against the Lafayette Diocese regarding Grear. Another was filed in 2011, by the same attorney.

The lawsuit names five other incidents that the Lafayette Diocese knew of involving priests sexually abusing minors.

A communications manager for The Lafayette Diocese said the following in an email statement:

“As of today, September 27, 2018, the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana has not been formerly served with notification of the lawsuit filed in Hamilton County regarding James Grear. Until the Diocese and its attorneys have been able to review the lawsuit, we are not in a position to comment on the elements of the suit.”

Bishop Timothy Doherty, current head of the Diocese of Lafayette, posted a response to the resignation of Archbishop McCarrick on the Diocese website on August 5th, 2018.

“...the suffering of victims of sexual abuse must be acknowledged. The victims themselves need acknowledgment. General prayers and apologies are necessary, but not sufficient,” he said in that post.

On September 18th, he posted a statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Administrative Committee.

He added his own statement saying, “In recent weeks, a number of Catholic dioceses have announced the intention to publish a list of credible and substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against minors by priests in their dioceses. My offices have been preparing the same. No priest who is currently in active ministry in this diocese has had a credible and substantiated allegation of the abuse of a minor brought against him.”

The lawsuit claimed that John Doe has suffered emotional and physical distress in the years since the alleged incident took place. Including loss of self-esteem, struggles with spirituality, and overall problems obtaining the full enjoyment of life.

The Diocese said Father Grear retired in 2007, however the lawsuit said Grear did not appear in the Official Catholic Directory after 1993.

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