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Four More Men File Lawsuit Against Archdiocese

Sex offender shifted to Vandalia, abused four, men say

Oct 22, 2003 | Dayton Daily News

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati in the 1980s knowingly transferred a sexually abusive priest to St. Christopher Church in Vandalia, where he then abused two 14-year-old boys and two older teens, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

"Here are four victims that never should have happened, four guys who were abused after the archdiocese dumped (the Rev. David) Kelley on Dayton," said Mason attorney Konrad Kircher, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the men, referred to in court papers only as John Does 27-30. The men said they were molested from 1983 to 1986. Two were 14 and the others were 18 and 19 years old.

The $16 million lawsuit brings to 30 the number of men claiming in court that Kelley molested them. It names as defendants Kelley, the archdiocese and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk. Similar lawsuits on behalf of other Kelley accusers have been filed in Hamilton County.

Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco acknowledged parents in Cincinnati had expressed concerns that Kelley showed an unhealthy interest in boys by 1983, prompting the principal of Elder High School at the time, the Rev. Thomas Kuhn, to remove Kelley from his teaching post there. Kuhn himself was indicted last week by a Montgomery County grand jury on charges he furnished alcohol to several minors and performed a sexual act in the presence of at least one of them at Kuhn's home in Miami Twp. between November 2001 and January 2002. Kuhn is on paid leave.

After being removed from Elder in 1983, Kelley was assigned as associate pastor of St. Christopher Church, which has a school. He left in 1987, when another complaint surfaced and the archdiocese sent him to a New Mexico center for sex-offender treatment. But Andriacco said the archdiocese received no complaint alleging Kelley had sexual contact with a minor until 1994, when a victim said Kelley molested him in the late 1970s and Kelley didn't deny it.

Another priest serving at St. Christopher at the time has said the archdiocese didn't make him aware of Kelley's history when Kelley was transferred to Vandalia, Andriacco said.

Pilarczyk is seeking to permanently defrock Kelley and nine other archdiocesan priests under a new "zero-tolerance" policy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Andriacco predicted the civil lawsuits involving Kelley will be thrown out of court because the statute of limitations has expired. But if they go to trial, he predicted the archdiocese will be cleared of wrongdoing because a 1986 letter to Pilarczyk summarizing the reasons for Kelley's ouster from Elder High indicated no allegations of sexual abuse.

In Cincinnati, Kelley lured victims by providing them with beer, cigarettes and pornography, according to earlier lawsuits. "That was his pattern in Cincinnati and he carried it on in Dayton," Kircher said.

Kelley has been without an assignment from the archdiocese since mid-2002, when he abruptly left a Cincinnati hospital job. Unbeknownst to church officials, he then got a job counseling teens at a suburban Cincinnati rehabilitation center until news of his record of abuse surfaced this past summer.


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