Three sisters sue Los Angeles archdiocese

Associated Press/September 4, 2003

Los Angeles, California -- Three sisters now in their 30s and 40s are suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a parish and a priest who they said sexually abused them as children in the 1970s.

Jackie Dennis, Riva Kennedy and Wendy Kennedy said they took the case to civil court because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned a state law that lifted the statute of limitations in criminal prosecution of old molestation cases.

At a news conference Thursday, the sisters said parish priest George Neville Rucker was molesting all of them at different times, sometimes in their own home while their mother was cooking dinner for the priest.

Only recently, they said, did they discover they were all victims.

"Over a year ago, when I first discovered Rucker's face in the newspaper, I was totally unaware these abuses had happened to my sisters," said Dennis, 42. "I kept my secret. I lived with my secret totally unaware of the abuses on my sisters."

Now, she said, "It's like opening up old stab wounds."

Rucker, 83, was arrested on a cruise ship off Alaska last year and was charged with molesting 12 girls over a 30-year period.

But in July, after the Supreme Court ruling, the charges against Rucker were dismissed and he returned to his home in a facility for retired priests.

Attorney Art Goldberg said he will also be filing a suit on behalf of the three women's parents who suffered guilt and distress when they learned what had happened.

Also Thursday, five men filed a lawsuit claiming that a priest sexually abused them more than 20 years ago when they were boys and that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati covered it up. The suit accusing the Rev. David Kelley of sexual abuse is seeking at least $10 million in damages.

In Missouri, two men are suing the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, a bishop and two priests for allegedly molesting them more than two decades ago.

The lawsuit claims the diocese knew that former priest Hugh Monahan was abusing children and transferred him to several parishes during his 20 years with the diocese because of the misconduct.

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