Lawsuit alleges priest abused boy in 1982 in Carmel

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A lawsuit was filed Sept. 20 in Hamilton County accusing a Catholic priest of sexually abusing a boy at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Carmel more than 35 years ago.

The lawsuit alleges that James J. Grear, a priest employed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette at the time, sexually assaulted the plaintiff, now an adult male identified only as John Doe, in approximately 1982 at a Catholic youth rally at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It states that Grear’s current whereabouts are unknown.

A representative from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel said the local church has no comment and referred all questions to the diocese. The diocese issued a statement Sept. 27 to local media addressing the matter.

“As of today, September 27, 2018, the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana has not been formally 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,” it states.

The lawsuit states that the plaintiff returned to his hometown of Monterey, Ind., after the rally, where he attended confession at St. Ann Parish and told Bishop Raymond Gallagher about the incident. Gallagher died in 1991.

“At that time, Bishop Gallagher instructed John Doe to forget about the abuse, to ask God to forgive him, and not to disclose the abuse to anyone else,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states that the diocese knew that Grear had sexually molested numerous children before the incident occurred. It describes Grear’s assignments as “suspect.” It states he served at Ball State University, Brebeuf Preparatory School and in Phoenix before the alleged assault and that he served in New York City and Guam after it.

The lawsuit states that the plaintiff is suffering great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life and that he continues to incur expenses for medical and psychological treatment, therapy and counseling.


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