Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Wheeling-Charleston Diocese

WTOV NBC News, Wheeling/February 8, 2008

After a Target 9 Investigation regarding sexual abuse in the Catholic church, NEWS9 learned a current lawsuit is one of two sexual abuse investigations discovered in November 2007.

A suit based on allegations of sexual abuse by a priest in the Wheeling Charleston Catholic Diocese has been filed in Ohio County, W.Va circuit court.

The lawsuit claims Rev. Charles E. McCallister sexually abused a young male for three years beginning in 2003, while the alleged victim was a minor.

The lawsuit claims McCallister abused the boy at Immaculate Conception Church in Clarksburg, WV where he attended services.

The diocese said it was notified of the allegation against McCallister in March 2007, and immediately suspended him as a priest, pending an investigation.

Wheeling-Charleston Diocese spokesman, Bryan Minor said, "Because there are so many unanswered questions, our investigation continues. It never ended."

The church said when it was notified, Father McCallister cooperated with local authorities and denied the allegation.

McCallister is now deceased.

The church has maintained an active ongoing program to address sexual abuse, and it believes the alleged victim's complaint contains only allegations.

Minor said the diocese extended the victim outreach program to the alleged victim and his family and will continue to do so regardless of the outcome of the current lawsuit.

According to Minor, the second sexual abuse investigation is now complete.

He said no criminal charges were filed, nor did the church come to a civil settlement.

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