Ridgeland Man Files Lawsuit for Abuse he Suffered in 2004 as a 9 Year Old

For immediate release, January 31, 2019

A man from Ridgeland, MS has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Jackson alleging that he was abused in 2004 as a 9 year old. We applaud this brave man for taking action to expose clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Jackson diocese.

In the lawsuit, the man – who filed anonymously – claims that he reported his allegations to the diocese in 2014 but that his allegations were never fully investigated by the investigator hired by the diocese. According to the newly-filed lawsuit, the Diocese of Jackson said that the victim’s mother was assured the matter would be fully investigated, telling her that “a private investigator would be hired to undertake an investigation beyond what the church would do internally or what the police department would do.”

Making matters worse is the allegation that, immediately after being abused, John Doe told his teacher at his school what had happened to him. In response, the teacher told him “don’t lie like that.” It is difficult to fathom the pain and confusion that must have gone on in the mind of a 9-year-old child when, the very first time that he opened up about what happened, he was branded a liar (to say nothing of the fact that this teacher’s response flies in the face of how she would have been trained to respond in a post-Dallas Charter world).

Statements like these are why it is crucial that anyone with knowledge or suspicions about abuse by clergy or cover-ups by bishops should seek help from independent sources, not church officials. We hope that this Ridgeland man’s courage will encourage other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups like ours.

CONTACT: Mark Belenchia, SNAP Mississippi Leader (601-953-2535, [email protected]) ( Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant