Saturday, July 06, 2002

Priest's niece among 7 suing archdiocese

Group says church covered up abuse allegations

By Dena Tackett
The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — The niece of a priest who has been indicted on 42 criminal counts of sexual misconduct was one of seven people to file lawsuits Friday against the Archdiocese of Louisville. The plaintiffs claim the church covered up allegations of sexual abuse.

        The Rev. Louis E. Miller pleaded not guilty to felony sexual misconduct last week and has denied the allegations. He is named in four of the seven suits filed Friday in Jefferson Circuit Court and in 63 of the 154 suits filed against the Archdiocese since April.

        Mary C. Miller, a 40-year-old Louisville native, sued her uncle in April 1999, alleging that he inappropriately touched her in 1998, causing her to “relive” childhood sexual abuse committed by Father Miller. She alleges that Father Miller sexually abused her between the ages of 10 and 15 while he was a priest at St. Aloysius Church and School.

        According to the suit filed Friday, Mary Miller settled out of court in 2000 after Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly swore in a deposition that he was not aware of any other lawsuits against Father Miller. But the lawsuit says Archbishop Kelly had been served with a copy of a 1990 lawsuit in which Father Miller had been accused of sexual abuse. Mary Miller claims that Archbishop Kelly committed perjury, making the settlement “induced by fraud.”

        She is suing the archdiocese, which in 2000 helped pay an undisclosed amount of the settlement.

        “It's not my desire to see a 71-year-old person go to jail, but he was wrong,” Mary Miller said of her uncle. “He broke the law. He was immoral, and he deserves to go to jail.”

        Earlier this year, Mary Miller's cousin, Mark Miller, also sued the archdiocese, alleging abuse by their uncle.

        Father Miller, who has retired since the accusations surfaced, worked at seven different parishes since 1956, and is accused in three other suits filed Friday.


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