A lawsuit filed today by a Philadelphia man who says he was abused by priests as a young man targets more than the alleged individual offenders.
The suit names the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali and retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua as defendants.
Lawyer Marci Hamilton said the lawsuit is on behalf of a survivor of clergy sexual abuse.
“Our suit says that he was sexually abused when he was in elementary school and then in high school by two different perpetrators–both in Philly,” Hamilton said. The suit alleges that “the identities of these perpetrators where hidden by the hierarchy of the church and that it was intentional. And that there’s been a conspiracy in the church to protect the Bishops, Cardinals, to protect the Priests and callous disregard for the victims.”
Last week, a former high-ranking church official, three priests, and a parochial school teacher were charged by the District Attorney with abuse or abuse-related crimes.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia declined to comment on the civil suit, but says it has taken a number of steps to investigate and attend to sexual-abuse cases. It has promised full cooperation with the criminal investigation.