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Diocese settles with attorney who claims repressed abuse memory for 50 years

Catholic World News - August 26, 2010

The Diocese of Lansing has paid a $225,000 settlement to a man who claimed he was abused in 1954 or 1955 by the priest who founded a children’s home. The priest died in 1983; no other abuse allegations have been made against him.

The alleged victim, an attorney, says that he repressed his memory of the abuse until 18 months ago, at which point he suffered a breakdown. According to his attorney, the alleged victim is no longer able to practice law.

In the settlement, the diocese denied the allegation. “Even if we get an allegation that we can't substantiate, we continue to support those who claim they have been abused,” said a diocesan spokesman. “If that support includes assistance in getting counseling, we'll do that.” The alleged victim’s attorney countered that the diocese would not have settled if the allegation had not been credible.

Earlier this week, Bishop Earl Boyea revealed that a different priest of the diocese had abused at least six boys; the bishop said he believed the allegations because the victims’ stories were similar, even though they had not been in contact with one another.

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  • Posted by: stpetric - Aug. 26, 2010 6:11 PM ET USA

    This is an unfortunate precedent. Since the "repressed memory" mania of the 1980s and early '90s, mental health professionals have become very wary about the phenomenon.

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