The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, September 24, 2010
Diocese asks judge to dismiss lawsuit involving former Central Catholic priest; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful, just once, to see Catholic officials fight a sexual misconduct lawsuit on the merits, instead of immediately trying to take advantage of legal technicalities? Wouldn’t it be nice for a bishop to say ‘We’re innocent and we’ll prove it in court,’ rather than seeking to exploit any and every legal maneuver to avoid telling the truth and taking responsibility for clergy sexual misdeeds?
We hope this latest legal tactic by Allentown’s bishop will backfire and cause more people who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Bonilla’s misdeeds to come forward and take action so he’ll never be able to hurt another vulnerable teen.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Originally Published: 9/24/2010
Diocese asks judge to dismiss lawsuit involving former Central Catholic priest
By Holly Herman Reading Eagle
The Allentown Diocese has asked a Berks County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses the diocese of failing to prevent a former Central Catholic High School priest from impregnating a 19-year-old.
The teen's parents filed the suit last month, alleging the diocese allowed the Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito to have sexual relations with their daughter while he was chaplain at the high school and their daughter was a senior.
Joseph F. Leeson Jr., a Bethlehem attorney for the diocese, said the baby was conceived in October or November 2009 - at least seven months after the teen's 18th birthday on March 3, 2009.
"The mother and stepfather without the cooperation of their adult daughter have asserted multiple causes of action against the defendants," Leeson said.
Leeson said the parents, whose names are being withheld by the Reading Eagle, have no standing to pursue the suit.
Jay N. Abramowitch, the parents' Wyomissing lawyer, said the diocese files legal objections in all abuse cases.
The parents are seeking more than $300,000 for emotional distress and negligence. Senior Judge Albert A. Stallone has not yet set a hearing.
Diocese spokeman Matthew Kerr said steps have been taken to defrock Bonilla.
The teen now lives with Bonilla, 41, in Norristown.
According to the suit:
The teen became acquainted with Bonilla during the 2008-09 school year. The parents said they became aware she was spending too much time with Bonilla and they reported it to school officials. The parents said no action was taken.
The parents hid a video camera in their basement and in November 2009 it recorded the teen having sex with Bonilla. The parents reported the contents of the video to the diocese, and Bonilla was removed from his assignments and placed in a treatment program.
Contact Holly Herman: 610-478-6291 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests