Ex-school worker alleges defamation

Says she was fired after affair with priest

June 26, 2007

A former employee of a Catholic girls school in Catonsville, who says she was fired after an affair with the school's former chaplain, is suing him, the school and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, alleging defamation and other transgressions, according to court documents.

In the suit, filed last week in Baltimore City Circuit Court, Ellicott City resident Charyl Breidenstein alleges that the Rev. Timothy Fell, her former parish priest, had sexual contact with her over an approximately 18-month period, ending about June 2005.

He had helped her get a job as admissions director at Mount de Sales Academy. About a year after the relationship ended, she sought psychiatric treatment as instructed by the school. Fell then began describing her to others as "crazy" and claimed she was "stalking" him, according to the suit. The school fired her at the completion of her treatment last September.

Fell, an associate pastor at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Catonsville, stepped down as Mount de Sales' chaplain during this past school year at the archdiocese's request, said the school's attorney, James P. Gillece Jr. Fell also had taught one religion course there.

"It is totally untrue that he caused her to be fired from Mount de Sales," Gillece said.

Archdiocese officials sent him for psychiatric evaluation and returned the priest to St. Agnes, Sean Caine, an archdiocese spokesman, said last night.

"We don't think there's any merit to their case against the archdiocese," Caine said.

Fell could not be reached for comment last night.

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