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SNAP of Tennessee

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee 

Article on Paul St. Charles law suit, November 2005

Man sues retired priest

A Memphis man, saying he was sexually abused as a teenager some 25 years ago, has filed suit against a Catholic priest.

The suit filed in Circuit Court names Rev. Paul W. St. Charles, who retired in 1986. St. Charles was suspended from his priestly ministry last year after a diocesan review board concluded that allegations of child sexual abuse in another case were "more likely than not" to be true.

The most recent suit was filed by a 41-year-old man who said he was sexually abused by St. Charles in 1980 or 1981 at the Catholic Church of the Ascension where they had a pastoral and counseling relationship. The man said St. Charles also gave him wine and whiskey to drink and convinced him it was permissible because they were in church, the suit added.

The man said his memory of the abuse was awakened in November last year when he saw a news report of similar allegations made against St. Charles. The suit asks for unspecified damages.

The Catholic diocese, which is among defendants named in the suit, has said it is working for the safety of the children and is trying to identify victims and to offer them spiritual and psychological counseling if requested.

Compiled from staff reports by Lawrence Buser, Jimmie Covington, Sherri Drake and Wayne Risher.