Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed In Canada Against Archdiocese Of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The scene of the crime, they say, was Ontario, Canada.

It was 1968.

A Philadelphia area teen and his parish priest had taken a camping trip. It’s claimed it was anything but innocent.

And 49 years later, Paul Eberz, of Freehold, New Jersey, has come out from the shadows to talk about the sexual abuse he says he endured in Canada.

“The priest, he’s a bad guy,” Eberz said.

The priest he’s referring to is Father John Mulholland. Eberz, at 18, says Mulholland sexually abused him on that trip north across the border. Paul knew “Father John” from his parish, St. Joseph Church in Warrington.

Eberz, at 18, says Mulholland sexually abused him on that trip north across the border. Paul knew “Father John” from his parish, St. Joseph Church in Warrington.

Those representing survivors disclosed Monday morning outside Archdiocesan offices an unprecedented step had been taken. A 2016 lawsuit had been filed against the Philadelphia Roman Catholic Church in a Canadian court.

“In Canada, there’s no statute of limitations,” Attorney Marci Hamilton said. “And so the abuse occurred in Ontario, and that made it possible to file a suit up there with no time limit whatsoever.”

Who was Father Mulholland? We turned to our archives. Sifting through Philadelphia’s Grand Jury Report of 2005, John Mulholland was a prominent name. Among other numbing details, he was known for so-called “two-week-long torture treatments of young boys.”

“Fr. Mulholland has a reputation as being into sadistic abuse of boys,” Barbara Dorris, of SNAP, said.

Paul Eberz’ testified before that grand jury. His mother even produced letters she found outlining sexually explosive content allegedly written by Father Mulholland. She reported it to the church. The grand jury concluded the archdiocese did nothing.

“My faith was stolen by these guys,” Eberz said.

Paul wasn’t alone.

Five years ago, he says his brother came forward, also making a report against Mulholland. The difference, time ran out on his brother’s case.

But because Paul’s abuse allegedly happened in Canada, there is no deadline to file a claim.

“It was my brother, and now I’m fighting because it’s no longer about me,” Eberz said.

The lawsuit shows Eberz is seeking $3 million in damages and costs from the Superior Court in Ontario.

We provided detailed information on this story to the archdiocese for comment. After some back and forth, a spokesman said it’s their policy not to comment on litigation.

Mulholland was booted from the priesthood in 2008, and maintains a private residence in the Trevose area, according to sources.

Comments

One Comment

  1. 1968? That’s how long to bring a lawsuit against the Catholic Churches. Priests aren’t exactly innocents and the higher up are to blame for the cover-up. Sad for the children who suffer at the hand of the Father Prickle who touch them in a harm’s way.

  2. snapjudy says:

    Let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have harmed by Father John Mulholland will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement no matter how long ago it happened. Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others
    Judy Jones, 636-433-2511. SNAPjudy@gmail.com
    SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

    1. The media event was on May 8, 2017 at 11 am. We met with the Director of SNAP and her contingency at 10:15 am at a hotel across the street from the Archdiocese in Philadelphia. Some we had met for the first time the day before; others that morning. Paul had no intention of speaking. Because I am a lawyer and there is a lawsuit pending, I told him not to. When survivors showed us pictures of children who were sexually abused by priests and as adults committed suicide because they blamed themselves I saw my husband’s reaction and told him “to follow his heart”. Survivors who came from Wisconsin, St. Louis and Boston spoke first and told the news cameras that they were there to support “Paul”. I felt the earth move as my husband took the microphone. I knew that he was about to “go public” because he wants other victims to know that they are not alone. He knew that he wanted to pay forward the gift that the survivors from Wisconsin, St. Louis and Boston gave him when they stood before the camera and said “I was sexually abused by a priest when I was a child, I am a survivor and I am here to support Paul”

      Veronica Davis

      Pauls’ Grateful wife

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