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Indiana Court Rules Sexual Abuse Case Can Go To Trial

6/15/2012 1:07:00 PM
Patrick W. Noaker
(Terre Haute, Indiana) In what is believed to be the first childhood sexual abuse case against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis ever argued in Terre Haute Indiana, Hon. Michael Lewis gave the green light to a Terre Haute man to present his case to a Vigo County jury.  In the case John Doe CD v. Archdiocese of Indianapolis et al., the Archdiocese argued to have the case dismissed because too much time had passed since Fr. Harry Monroe had sexually abused a boy in 1981.  The Court disagreed.  According to the Court’s Order, there was evidence that the Archdiocese concealed that it was aware that Fr. Monroe was a child abuser and moved Fr. Monroe to St. Patrick’s parish in Terre Haute anyway.  The Court noted that when Fr. Monroe was in seminary he was arrested for indecent exposure.  The Court also cited to confidential internal Archdiocese documents that there were some aspects of Fr. Monroe’s conduct that the Archdiocese “didn’t care to put it in print.”  Strikingly, the Order indicates that the Archdiocese even kept the Pastor of St. Patrick’s parish in the dark about Fr. Monroe’s abusive past placing Terre Haute children at risk.

While in Terre Haute, the Order reports that Fr. Monroe “began providing alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana to CD and then became sexually inappropriate with CD.”  CD was thirteen years old at the time.
Under Indiana law, that type of concealment provides for an exception to legal time limits, keeping the time limit from expiring.  According to the Judge, a Vigo County jury must decide this case.  It is believed that this is the first case for childhood sexual abuse involving the Archdiocese and one of its priests to be presented to a jury.