Suit cites sex abuse by priest Mother, daughter seek $100 million

January 15, 1992|By Brian Sullam

A West Baltimore woman and her daughter yesterday filed a $100 million lawsuit against a former priest, the former archbishop of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, alleging that the young girl had been raped and sexually abused by the priest for more than three years.

The suit alleges that Richard G. Deakin, 36, a member of the Capuchin Franciscan Order of the Province of St. Augustine, "performed a number of sexual acts" on the girl beginning in 1985, when she was 13.

The suit says the acts were performed at the rectory of St. Martin's Church, in the first block of North Fulton Street, where Deakin served as assistant pastor, and at the girl's home and in his car at parks around Baltimore.

Deakin was convicted in October 1990 of second-degree rape and sexual child abuse in the case.

He was given a 15-year suspended sentence as part of a plea bargain with Baltimore prosecutors and was put on probation for five years. At the time of his sentencing, Deakin had left the priesthood, married and moved to Baden, Pa.

The suit, filed yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court, listed pseudonyms for the plaintiffs -- Mary Doe for the mother and Jane Doe for the daughter -- to protect their identities.

It will be up to the judge whether to allow the case to proceed using the pseudonyms.

The suit alleges that the victim, who is now 19, "suffers and will suffer in the future from emotional distress, anxiety, fear, physical anguish, psychological and emotional trauma."

The suit seeks $30 million in damages each for the counts of battery, negligent hiring and supervision, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On behalf of her mother, the suit is seeking damages of $10 million.

A spokesman for the Baltimore Archdiocese did not return phone calls seeking comment on the suit.

The alleges that former Archbishop William D. Borders and the Capuchins failed to investigate and monitor the behavior of Deakin, whose order had taken over the pastoral responsibilities of St. Martin's.

During his years as a seminarian, Deakin allegedly was "exposed to sexually deviant conduct" and as a result had received "counseling for sexually related difficulties and incidents that subsequently resulted in his transfer to a parish in another state."

Deakin had been subjected to homosexual advances as a seminarian, according to evidence presented at his criminal trial.

Knowing that Deakin had these problems, the suit alleges that the decision to assign Deakin to supervise youth groups was "reckless, extreme and outrageous."

The suit said the decision of Archbishop Borders and the Capuchins to assign Deakin to St. Martin's "created an unreasonable risk of harm to its parishioners, especially female adolescents."

At the time of his conviction, an investigation found no evidence that Deakin was sexually involved with any other children in the parish.

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