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Suit: Church Employees Witnessed Abuse

Jun 24, 2002 | WLWT Two former employees of a northern Kentucky church have filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Covington.

The father and son who filed the lawsuit claimed that the "sexually charged workplace" led to mental, physical and sexual abuse, WLWT Eyewitness News 5's Terry Daniels reported.

John DiMuzio said he saw at least two different priests commit "unspeakable acts" while he was the maintenance director for the diocese.

He said officials refused to do anything about it after he confronted them.

"They refused to confront the priest while it was actually happening. All they would do is pray and talk about it," DiMuzio said.

DiMuzio said he didn't push the issue because he was raised a staunch Catholic.

"If my mother was sitting here, she would stop that camera and keep me from speaking, because it is unheard of to speak out," DiMuzio said. "These things were gnawing at me on the inside that something wasn't done about it."

While DiMuzio said his abuse was mental, he claimed his son, Mark, was physically and mentally abused.

He said the abuse occurred when Mark was an altar boy at Mary Queen of Heaven Church in Erlanger in the 1970s, and later when he was a maintenance worker for the diocese in the 1980s.

"I think if I don't disclose it, if I don't adopt zero tolerance against both physical and mental abuse, I don't think it will ever stop in the church," DiMuzio said.

Diocese officials said they received a copy of the lawsuit Monday morning, and wouldn't comment on it, Daniels reported.

One of the priests named, the Rev. Paul Ciangetti, is deceased.

The other, Kendrick Williams, recently resigned as Lexington's bishop following similar allegations.

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