INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A civil lawsuit filed this week claims the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette allowed one of its priests to prey on children.
The lawsuit accuses father James Grear of child molestation and argues the Diocese endangered children by keeping the allegations secret for decades.
Attending a catholic youth rally at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1982, an anonymous victim claims he was sexually molested by Grear.
The underage victim, named in this lawsuit as John Doe, says he confessed the alleged sex crime to another priest and was “instructed to forget about the abuse, to ask God to forgive him, and not to disclose the abuse to anyone.”
“This practice of covering up, this practice of moving suspects around is not unique to Indiana,” said Tim Lennon with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
Lennon isn’t surprised the civil lawsuit claims the Diocese knew of Grear's alleged pedophilia before and after he served at Mount Carmel.
Court documents show after leaving Indiana, Grear worked in Phoenix, New York and Guam, before disappearing from the Catholic directory in 1993.
“The biggest emotion is just sadness of knowing so many children have been harmed. This practice of moving predators around only endangers more children and harms more children,” said Lennon.
In 1975, a different child also claims Grear, who at that time served at Brebeuf Prepatory School, sexually abused him. A lawsuit filed in 2011 again claimed the Diocese concealed information about Grear simply to avoid scandal.
“It becomes angering to know the church saw its reputation as more important than the safety of children,” said Lennon.
For their part, the Diocese released a three-sentence letter saying they are not in position to comment and noting Grear left the active ministry in 2007.
His current whereabouts are unknown.
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages in civil court in Hamilton County.
You can find the lawsuit here: