CHILD AND YOUTH SEXUAL ABUSE BY CLERGY:
CASES INVOLVING RECOVERED MEMORIES - 2003 to 2005
Repressed or dormant memories of clergy abuse during 2003:
|2003-JAN-31: Nebraska: James Duffy, a resident of Arizona,
alleges that he was repeatedly sexually abused by two employees of Father Flanagan's Boys Home --
a priest and a counselor -- starting
in 1978. He claims that he repressed memories of the abuse at the time,
and only recovered them after 2002-FEB. Robert Goodman, also a resident
of Arizona, alleges that he was physically and sexually molested in 1973
and 1974 while he was a student at St. Joseph's Catholic Church grade
school, in York NB. He also recovered memories of the abuse recently.
|2003-FEB-12: Missouri: Jephrey Hemmer alleges that Fr. Joseph
Schwaegel sexually abused him on three occasions during 1973 in the
rectory of St. Peter's Cathedral in Belleville, when he was nine years
of age. Hemmer says that he repressed the memory of the abuse until
1998. The case was settled out of court. 2|
|2003-MAR-13: Florida: "John Doe" sues Archdiocese of Miami:
38 year-old man filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami
on, claiming he was sexually abused at the age of 17 by a priest who was
his guidance counselor at a parochial high school, St. Thomas Aquinas
High School in Fort Lauderdale. The priest has since died. "Doe" claims
that he repressed the memories of the incident until last year. 3|
|2003-MAR-14: Nebraska: Second man alleges sexual abuse:
Randy Pfeifer of Colorado filed a lawsuit alleging that Monsignor
Jerome C. Murray physically and sexually molested him on repeated
occasions from 1974 to 1976 while Pfeifer attended fifth through seventh
grades at St. Joseph's Catholic Church grade school in York, NE. He
claims that he repressed memories of the abuse until some time after
|2003-MAR-25: Nebraska: Another man, only known as John Doe,
is alleging that he was sexually abused in Body's Town between 1981 and
1987. The lawsuit charges that the defendants "each engaged in
separate, wide-ranging plans to use their influence and positions"
at Boys Town to sexually abuse youths who lived there. It says that that
his memory of the sexual abuse was repressed. He started recovering the
memories on or after 2002-MAR-27. 5|
|2003-MAR-31: Oklahoma: Attorney Philip Schovanec filed a
lawsuit against a retired Roman Catholic priest and the Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Schovanec alleges that he was sexually
abused two decades ago when he was 13 to 15 years of age. The lawsuit
claims that Schovanec has experienced a variety of psychological and
emotional problems "including great shame, guilt, self-blame,
repression and disassociation." He claims that he only began to
recall the abuse in 2002. 6|
|2003-APR-4: Florida: "Jane Doe" filed a lawsuit in 2002-DEC,
claiming that her teacher, a priest at Cardinal Newman High School,
sexually assaulted her at least ten times during 1971 and 1972 in the
school's rectory. The priest denies the allegations. "Jane" says that
she repressed her memory of the sexual attacks until 2002. 7
On 2003-JUN-27, circuit judge William Berger ruled that she could no
longer remain anonymous if she wanted to pursue the case. He believed
that the priest could not effectively defend himself against 30 year old
allegations by an unknown person. |
|2003-MAY-10: Florida: A former resident of Camp Tracey, a
camp for troubled youths run by the Harvest Baptist Church in
Arlington FL, is suing two of its counselors. He alleges that he was
sexually and physically abused while he was a resident from 1988 to
1992. He has allegedly repressed the memories of the abuse until about
six months ago. In 1987, after years of physical abuse allegations by
children and parents, a grand jury investigated Camp Tracey. They
criticized the administration because of what they felt was excessive
corporal punishment and the use of ropes and handcuffs to restrain
|2003-MAY-23: Texas: A man has accused his former priest of
many brutal sexual assaults, some 25 years ago in San Antonio TX. The
alleged victim was 13 years of age at the time. In what may be an
indication of dormant memories, he said that he repressed the memories,
and that all of the memories resurfaced violently early in 2003.
|2003-OCT-9: Indiana: Two brothers, who were altar boys at St.
Mary Catholic Church in Richmond. IN allege that a priest repeatedly
assaulted them between 1951 and 1957. Both brothers have been through
through therapy and counseling. According to a news source, the
complaint says both brothers developed "coping mechanisms" that "caused
them to suppress the memory of the abuse." It also asserts both
brothers "continue to suffer great pain of mind and body, shock,
emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress,
embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and loss of
enjoyment of life." 10|
|2003-OCT-13: New York: A former altar boy from Dunkirk, NY,
has accused a Catholic priest of sexually abusing him in 1983. The
lawsuit allegedly states that the plaintiff developed amnesia and "completely
lost or suppressed the memory of the abuse" until after 1999-SEP.
The priest says he has been "falsely accused."
This essay continues below
Repressed or dormant memories of clergy abuse during 2004:
|2004-JUN-16: Arizona: Roman Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy:
The Arizona Daily Star reported that: "Lawyers for the Roman
Catholic Diocese of Tucson say Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas is making plans to
file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection." This would be the first time
that a Roman Catholic diocese in the U.S. has filed for bankruptcy
protection. Parisoners would find themselves as part of a church whose major
purchases must be pre-approved by the courts. |
The diocese's financial plight was partly caused by an out-of-court
settlement with ten men who claimed that they had repressed memories of
sexual molestation during the 1960s to 1980s by four local clergy. The
amount has not been made public, but is believed by some to be as high as
$16 million. There are currently 19 additional cases pending.
Repressed or dormant memories of clergy abuse during 2005:
|2005-JAN-03: Massachusetts: Shanley case goes to jury:
There have been many charges of childhood sexual abuse against Roman
Catholic priests in Massachusetts. However, most did not result in
trials because of the statute of limitations. Paul Shanley, a priest who
was defrocked by the Vatican in 2004, is an exception. He moved away
from the state. This "stopped the clock" on the statute of limitations
and allowed police to arrest Shanley in California. Church personnel
records showed that the Archdiocese knew that Shanley advocated sex
between men and boys. Yet, they continued to transfer him from parish to
parish. Shanley is now 74. His accuser is 27. The charges relate to
allegations by four accusers that they suffered sexual abuse between
1979 and 1989 at St. Jean's parish in Newton, MA. Charges were dropped
in all but one case. His remaining accuser testified that he had suddenly
recovered memories of the event when he heard media reports about the
sexual abuse crisis among clergy in 2002. If true, this would appear to
be a case of dormant memories, which
suddenly return as an overwhelming recollection of a series of events;
they are not the more common type of recovered memories developed
gradually over a long period of time during suggestive therapy. The
Defense attorneys had only one witness: Elizabeth Loftus -- a
psychologist who questioned the accuracy and validity of repressed
13 Shanley's original main accuser, Gregory Ford, allegedly
asserted that Fr. Shanley had removed him 80 times from his Sunday
school classed, raped him, and then returned him to class. The director
of the Sunday school program testified that she never saw Shanley take a
child from the class. 14|
|2005-FEB-7: Paul Shanley was found guilty
of abusing child: The jury determined that Paul Shanley was guilty of
repeatedly molesting a boy at his church during the 1980s. He was convicted
on all four charges. According to the Associated Press, "After Shanley
was led away from the courtroom, his niece, Teresa Shanley, told reporters:
'There are no winners today. There are only losers. We're no closer to
finding out the truth about this scandal or finding out what happened'."
David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of Those
Abuse by Priests (SNAP) said: "This shows that when survivors
find the strength to speak up, sometimes, sometimes, kids are protected, and
justice can happen. When survivors stay silent, nothing changes....We're
very grateful for and proud of all the Shanley victims, because they all
played a role here." 15|
|2005-FEB-25: Texas: Priest accused of
sexual abuse: John Doe I and John Doe II, both from Texas,
allege they were sexually abused by the Rev. Thomas H. Teczar, a Roman
Catholic priest after he was transferred to the Fort Worth diocese in
1988. They allege that they had repressed and later recovered memories
of the abuse. The judge in the case has reserved his judgment on whether
to accept as experts two clinical psychologists from Dallas who assert
that memory repression and recovery exist. Harrison Pope, a Boston
psychologist who is a scientific advisor the False Memory Syndrome
Foundation has testified that he does not believe in repressed or
suppressed memory. 16|
|2005-FEB-25: Texas: Florida woman suing
the San Antonio Archdiocese: Judy Rakestraw of Miami FL is suring
the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio because of alleged abuse that
began at St. John the EvangelistsSchool about four decades ago. She
claimed that Father Myron Suize who worked for the school as a teacher
and coach, repeatedly fondled her over a period of three years and once
attempted to rape her during her teenage years. Adam Horowitz, her
attorney, said: "The abuse our client sustained was so traumatic,
that it was only within the last few years, as a result of on-going
psychotherapy that she recovered her memory....Our client is a very
brave woman; she's actually the head of a survivors' group of victims in
Miami. She's made the decision to sue in her own name, because as head
of the survivors' group, she's come across so many victims that she
wants to send a message to the Catholic Church." 17|
|2005-MAR-03: New Mexico: Alleged
dormant memories of abuse surface: When his wife surfed a web site
dedicated to alleged victims of priest sex abuse in New Mexico, memories
of abuse suddenly came flooding back to a man who is now in his 40s. He
grew up in Los Alamos and now lives out of state. Previous allegations
by at least seven other persons claiming to be victims of the same
priest date back to 1995. The accused priest is now in his 70s and is
still active in the Albuquerque Roman Catholic diocese. David Clohessy,
director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
(SNAP) said: "I do not know of a single case anywhere where a
currently active priest facing six, seven, eight or nine allegations is
allowed to remain around kids." He has delivered a letter to the
archdiocese chancery in Albuquerque, asking that the priest be
suspended. The priest has denied any wrongdoing and has been cleared
twice by an Archdiocese Review Board. 18|
- Mark Thiessen, "Boys Town, Nebraska church school accused in
sexual abuse lawsuits," Associated Press, 2003-JAN-31.
- "Man alleging abuse, former priest settle suit," St. Louis
Post-Dispatch, 2003-FEB-21, Page B2.
- Tim Reynolds, "Man sues Archdiocese of Miami, claiming abuse by
now-dead priest," Associated Press, 2003-MAR-13.
- Margery Beck, "Colorado man accuses Lincoln priest of sex abuse,"
Associated Press, 2003-MAR-14.
- Stephen Buttry, " Second suit alleges Boys Town abuse An
unidentified man says he was molested by the Rev. James Kelly and
Michael Wolf," Omaha World Herald (Nebraska), 2003-MAR-25, Page 4b.
- Tim Talley, "Lawyer sues former priest over sexual abuse,"
Associated Press 2003-MAR-31.
- Bill Douthat, "Judge recuses from priest sex case,"
2003-APR-4, Palm Beach Post, Page 3B.
- Paul Pinkham "Man sues church, alleges abuse; Harvest Baptist's Camp
Tracey cited," Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL, 2003-MAY-10, Page
- Carly Miller, "Man Claims He Was Sexually Assaulted By San
Antonio Priest," WOAI.com news, 2003-MAY-24, at:
- Don Fasnacht, "Brothers accuse priest of abuse,"
Palladium-Item, Richmond, IN, 2003-OCT-9, Page 1 & 2A.
- Jay Tokasz, "Ex-area priest, diocese face Florida suit alleging
abuse," Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY, 2003-OCT-13, Page B1.
- Stephanie Innes, "Dioces of Tuscon weighs bankruptcy," The Arizona
Daily Star, 2004-JUN-16.
- Denise Lavoie, "Jury in case against defrocked priest to resume
deliberations Monday," Associated Press, 2005-FEB-04.
- Rory Connor, "The conviction of (Father) Paul Shanley," at:
- Denise Lavoie, "Jury finds defrocked priest guilty of
repeatedly molesting parishioner," Associated Press, 2005-FEB-07.
- Kathleen A. Shaw, "Teczar awaits ruling on psychologists," Telegram
& Gazette, (Massachusetts), 2005-FEB-26, Page A2.
- Posting on KENS 5 Eyewitness News, 2005-FEB-25.
- Joline Gutierrez Krueger, "Abuse memories flood back," Albuquerque
Tribune (New Mexico), 2005-MAR-03, Page A2.
Copyright © 2002 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2002-JUL-30
Latest update: 2005-MAR-06
Author: B.A. Robinson