Thursday, April 24, 2003

Attorney: Accused priest in Canada

By Dylan T. Lovan
The Associated Press

A Catholic priest accused of arranging an abortion for a teenage girl he got pregnant in the 1960s is now married and living in Canada, said an attorney who filed the suit.

The alleged sexual abuse began when the girl was about 13 years old, and it occurred in motels, in cars and even in the Diocesan Children's Home in Fort Mitchell where the girl stayed and where the Rev. James Aloysius Brown was assigned, according to the lawsuit.

The suit, an amended version of an earlier lawsuit, was filed Tuesday against the Diocese of Covington in Boone County Circuit Court. It claims that 21 priests in the diocese abused dozens of children.

The Diocese of Covington said Brown cannot be found in any of its records.

"We can find no records or reference to Father James Aloysius Brown in diocesan records," Tim Fitzgerald, a diocese spokesman, said Wednesday. "If there were a Father Brown who did work at the orphanage as a counselor in the early '60s, then it sounds like he came from another diocese where he was ordained or from another religious order."

Fitzgerald said he could provide no other information on Brown.

The girl, now a Cincinnati businesswoman, was abused over a three-year period, said Stan Chesley, the Cincinnati lawyer who filed the suit.

"Hard to believe they have no records on Father Brown, in view of the lengthy period of time that he worked with the diocese and counseled children," Chesley said. "I think this is the kind of person that they need to know the most about."

Chesley said he has done about five months of research on the case, though he said none of the information on the woman has come from the diocese.

"My understanding is that (Brown) is alive and well and living in Canada," Chesley said.

Fitzgerald couldn't confirm where Brown was living.

Accusations that a priest arranged an abortion after getting a victim pregnant may be new to Kentucky, said Sue Archibald, president of The Linkup, an advocacy group for clergy-abuse victims.

"There have been several cases like this" around the world, but she could point to no similar one in Kentucky. She said her group has had little contact with alleged victims from Northern Kentucky.

The lawsuit names the Diocese of Covington and Bishop Roger Foys as defendants. To keep the potential class-action lawsuit in Boone County, Chesley presented three more people - including the Cincinnati woman - who say they were sexually abused by priests numerous times in Boone County.

The potential class includes more than 150 victims, the amended lawsuit says.

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