Church settles suit

BR Diocese to Rename High School

The Advocate/November 11, 2004
By Barbara Schlichtman

Bishop Robert Muench of the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge concludes a news conference Wednesday. Muench announced the diocese has settled a lawsuit claiming sexual abuse by former Bishop Joseph V. Sullivan and publicly apologized and offered 'profound regret' for the alleged acts.

The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge announced Wednesday that it has settled a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by the late former Bishop Joseph V. Sullivan and that the prominent high school bearing his name would be renamed.

The lawsuit was filed in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge in April by a man who claims the sexual abuse occurred 29 years ago and that the repressed memory of the abuse resurfaced in June 2003, diocese attorney Charlie Cusimano said.

Sullivan was bishop from 1974 until his death in 1982. The alleged incident occurred in 1975 when the victim was 17, Bishop Robert Muench said.

"I am truly sorry for the pain this allegation causes those in our church, particularly those harmed," Muench said.

No details surrounding the alleged abuse were available because the lawsuit was sealed by state District Judge Curtis Calloway, Cusimano said.

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