One week after officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that 21
priests were being suspended while allegations that they sexually abused minors
are reviewed, a Delaware County man is planning to file a lawsuit against the
archdiocese in connection with abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a
Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn.-based attorney who specializes
in sexual-abuse litigation, said on Monday that he expects to file the civil
complaint Wednesday in Philadelphia on behalf of a 49-year-old Delaware County
man. He did not identify the plaintiff on Monday.
The man alleges he was
abused as an adolescent by the Rev. John Kline while the priest was based at St.
Francis Xavier parish and Roman Catholic High School, both in Philadelphia, said
The attorney told the Daily Times that Kline is now deceased
and his name did not appear in either of two Philadelphia grand jury reports
investigating clerical sexual abuse.
Archdiocesan officials said they did
not have additional information about Kline or his service available on
“The lawsuit will allege that archdiocese officials conspired to
endanger the safety of the plaintiff when they actively concealed knowledge of
Kline’s previous offenses, lied to parishioners and created a sham sexual abuse
victim assistance program for the archdiocese,” a press release from Anderson’s
law firm stated.
Also named as attorneys in the case are Dan Monahan of
Chester County and Marci Hamilton of New York.
The lawsuit comes on the
heels of a recent Philadelphia grand jury report that resulted in the arrest
Feb. 10 of four men who were charged with sexually assaulting boys in the
Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Their preliminary hearing that commenced
Monday is set to resume March 25.
A week after the grand jury report was
released archdiocesan officials announced that three priests named in the report
were being put on administrative leave while they reviewed sexual abuse
allegations against them, two of whom formerly served at Delaware County
Archdiocesan officials also hired Gina Maisto Smith, a former
Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted child sexual assault
cases, to review the 37 cases of concern cited by the grand jury. Twenty-one
more priests, at least six of whom have Delaware County ties, were put on
administrative leave March 8.
The recent grand jury convened by
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was the second one concerning
clerical sex abuse.
A grand jury investigation launched by former
Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham in 2003 revealed in 2005 that 63
priests allegedly abused children as far back as the 1940s, 43 of whom had
connections with Delaware County. None could be prosecuted because the statute
of limitations had expired. The statute was expanded in 2006 to age 50 for