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COA: Priest abuse suit can proceed

January 1, 2008
The Indiana Court of Appeals this week declined to take an interlocutory appeal on a case accusing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis of covering up an ex-priest's history of sexual abuse.

In denying the case of Archdiocese of Indianapolis, et al. v. John Doe NM, 49A05-0802-CV-00075, the court has given its go ahead for the Marion County civil suit to proceed to trial; it would be the first of 13 against the archdiocese to survive summary judgment. The suit was brought by a former altar boy who alleged abuse by the Rev. Harry Monroe and fraud in that the archdiocese knew of previous abuse when it transferred Monroe to St. Catherine's Parish in Indianapolis more than three decades ago.

At issue was when the statute of limitations started running on a fraud claim against the archdiocese, but not on the abuse-related claims against the former priest. In December, Marion Superior Judge David Shaheed refused to grant the archdiocese's motion for summary judgment on grounds that the six-year statute of limitations on fraud began running in 2005, when the plaintiff John Doe NM learned that the archdiocese had known of other abuse before transferring the former priest to other locations. Attorneys for the archdiocese had argued the claim came too late - about 20 years after the statute expired - and filed an interlocutory appeal in February.

A docket entry dated April 7 shows that the court's three-judge panel unanimously denied jurisdiction, but it doesn't provide an explanation. No trial level proceedings have been scheduled. Another case against the archdiocese remains pending in the appellate court, with the court on Monday also ordering a Louisville, Ky., attorney to file an amended petition for temporary admission to practice in Indiana.
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