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Philadelphia Archdiocese Faces New Priest-Abuse Suit

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — John Doe 168 was in fourth grade when he says the abuse began. At the time, he says his priest at Our Lady of Calvary in Northeast Philadelphia abused him, Father John Gillespie.

But he kept quiet.

“People like that in the community that I lived in were very well respected and looked up to and in their eyes, I was just a dumb kid,” Doe said, not wanting to reveal his name. “What do I know?”

For twenty years, that kid did not say a word about what he says happened. He suffered in private for the abuse he says he went through between 1988 and 1991.

Then he saw the news of another man coming forward two weeks ago. Phil Gaughan says Father Gillespie abused him at the same church. Gaughan gave the latest victim the courage he needed.

“If he could come forward,” said Doe, “I decided I needed to take action.”

“I fully support this gentleman in coming forward and his courage to come forward,” said Gaughan.

Oren Liebermann reports…

Like Gaughan, John Doe filed suit against the Archdiocese for covering up reports of abuse and failing to protect children. Doe’s lawyers announced his suit Monday afternoon.

“While some of these crimes have been known, little or nothing has changed in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” said Jeff Anderson, Doe’s attorney.

“I wish I would’ve said something but I can’t go back and that’s kind of what prompted me to come forward now,” Doe said. “I didn’t want to be 60 70 80 years old and saying I wish I would’ve, I wish I would’ve.”

For John Doe, the possibility of another child becoming a victim helped him overcome his fear of coming forward. Now he says he hopes other victims are ready to come forward as well.

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    All Assembly And Senate Members:
    Trenton, New Jersey

    Senate Bill# S2405
    Assembly Bill# A3622

    The horrendous crime of Sexual Assault to a minor, is extremely real in our state of New Jersey. Over the last several years many advocates and supporters have come forward to address the injustice and constitutionality about laws that crime victims have had to unfairly face in New Jersey.
    The criminal law statute for sexual assault was changed in 1995. There is no criminal statute now and rightfully so, in New Jersey, for a victim from sexual assault, to file a criminal claim.
    However, just a few legislative sessions ago, Our New Jersey Government did away with another barrier sex crime victims have had in filing and prosecuting criminals that rape children. This was the amendment to a charity shield, called charitable immunity law, in New Jersey.
    This charity law was a bar for many claimants. However, a civil law statute expired for filing civil complaints, while waiting for that charity immunity law to be amended, like it was. With much angst to the fact that there has been no remedy in the ability to prosecute and punish certain known offenders within the Camden Diocese,
    I am a child sex crime victim that still has no legal representation in New Jersey, due to this statute in civil law under review. Attorneys wont file criminal complaints for me, because a civil complaints bar is still pending this legislation..
    To mention that the sex offenders that are not registered with the state, are also not removed from positions that endanger children. Also, there currently is still the inability to punish, rehabilitate or incarcerate these criminals, that statistically re-offend across the boarder. In addition, there is no legal authority to govern and/or enforce any civility over these criminals and institutions that have protected them.
    Please Help.
    These reported upon known offenders will be prosecuted and punished when the bars that have protected them, removed.
    While New Jersey has always been on the forefront for Child protection and advocacy, Our great state’s laws are missing a large target of criminals, that we as a governing body have the ability to resolve and amend these discrepancies, with this legislation.
    This is all so in the effort that our justice system and the agents available within it, are able to perform the civil service that sex crime victims should other wise expect from them and be entitled too.
    Thank you for voting this bill to the Budget and Appropriations Committee, a vote 9-0. If you have not voted for this bill yet or signed on to Co-Spenser, please join in. And when the bill comes to the Assembly and the Senate again, for the final vote, I hope you will have extended this invitation to colleges for voting in favor of this urgent and needed amendment to New Jersey Sex Crime Laws.
    Thank you,

  • Don't believe this

    Agree 100%. These guys are out for money.

  • PM

    Mr. Anderson…your less than sincere attempt at advocay of victims is not going to work in Philadelphia. Nobody is going to believe your assertion In Paragraph 48 page 13 of your most recent complaint….Welcome to Philadelphia. You are never going to convince a jury that the Archbishop of Philadelphia past or present and the good people employed by the Archdiocese would conspire to endanger the welfare of children. You did not do your research. Philadelphia was founded on freedom of religion, and it is taken very seriously here. The good works of the Archdiocese are known to millions. You might want to reconsider your frivolous actions and allow the victims to settle their spirits and heal.

  • PM

    There is no respect for life from conception through natural death. Children are disposable from the time they are conceived. Lets hope that decent people at the legislative, judicial, and law enforcement levels will work with the proper mental health professionals and have more stringent laws, and enforce them.

  • Saul of Tarsus

    It is sickening that any child is ever abused.

    It is also sickening that a pervasive culture of sexual freedom + experimentation has indeed crept into the Church. The Church absolutely needs to be PURGED!

    Why are we surprised that there are these kinds of selfish abuses of children by a few members of the clergy when it’s already been perfectly acceptable for “If It Feels Good Do It” to be the moral code of the last 50 years??

    Every day before and since this latest round of clergy abuse news has occupied KYW there are parallel articles of teachers, coaches and others who are also being “caught” abusing children as well, or having “kiddie porn” somewhere on their computers, or luring preteens to meet them for sex.

    In addition, there are ads plastered on this website every single day of scantily clad women (the Eagles + Sixers cheerleaders, Victoria’s Secret) that cry out the hypocrisies that ooze all around us:

    Sex, sex, sex and more sex….. and then we all get so upset and yet excited to watch the Church go down for having clergy that are “just like the rest of us” for being BAD!

    The Church is us. Whether you are Catholic or not, the horror of sin is all across the culture and the Church is getting spanked for being “the Church” and having the audacity to uphold virtue while it had of all things, sinners, within it. ALL aspects of this society have perversion and abuse of younger or vulnerable members by selfish people.
    For any of us who dare to think that we are above the sins of any others’ sins, look deeply at your own lives and how many of you have remained “pure….”

    There go I, but for the Grace of God. For God’s Grace, for this messed up nation, let us strive and pray for!

  • Randy

    One religion kills innocents in the name of God, another rapes children and then defends their perverted priests. Which church do you belong to? Come on people be proud and raise your hands high.

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