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Judge Rules Lawsuit Against Priest May Continue May 14, 1997

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (CWN) - A Florida judge decided on Wednesday that a lawsuit accusing a priest of seducing a woman who sought counseling may proceed with modifications.

Lawyers representing Father Thomas Foudy and the Archdiocese of Miami had argued that the case should be dismissed because the court could not decide if a priest had acted negligently under the First Amendment of the US Constitution's separation of church and state. Broward County Judge Leroy Moe said Alinka Sullivan may sue the defendants for negligence as a counselor that than as a priest.

Father Foudy's attorney had also argued that the lawsuit describes consensual sex and therefore should be thrown out, but Sullivan's attorney contends that the suit is based on the priest's wrongful actions of luring her into a relationship. Father Foudy's attorney maintains that his client did not engage in any sexual relations with the woman.

Moe ruled that anything having to do with Foudy as a priest is dismissed, and Sullivan's attorney, Michael Bernstein, promised to amend the suit as instructed by the judge.

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