Man sues former priest, ex-bishop in abuse case

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 Adrian Morrow

Globe and Mail Update

Published Monday, Oct. 04, 2010 9:31PM EDT

Last updated Monday, Oct. 04, 2010 9:46PM EDT

A 46-year-old man is suing a former Catholic priest who pleaded guilty earlier this year to sexually abusing him and two other boys. Also named in the suit are the Diocese of St. Catharines, which he says did nothing to help him when he complained of the abuse, and former bishop James Wingle, who resigned shortly after the ex-priest, Donald Grecco, pleaded guilty.

The suit claims a total of $3-million in damages. The diocese did not respond to requests for comment Monday evening; Mr. Grecco could not be reached for comment.

“The burning question is what the diocese knew and when,” said Robert Talach, a lawyer for the man, Mike Blum.

When the abuse began in 1978, Mr. Blum was a teenage altar boy who helped out with odd painting jobs at his parish church in Cayuga, Mr. Talach said Monday. He said it lasted roughly a year and a half.

In 2005, he told the diocese about the abuse, shortly after Mr. Grecco had left the priesthood. He claims nothing came of his complaint, so he went to the police in 2008. The resulting investigation led to criminal proceedings and Mr. Grecco’s guilty plea in March. The ex-priest is awaiting sentencing.

Mr. Blum is currently on disability, unable to work as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder, Mr. Talach said.

In April, the bishop abruptly resigned, citing only a lack of “stamina” in a letter to parishioners.

“I believe that my resignation will serve not only my own spiritual and personal well-being, but the good of the diocese and the Church as well,” he wrote. “If my shortcomings and limitations have caused any disappointment, I ask for God’s mercy and your understanding.”

It is not clear why the bishop resigned or exactly what post he took up afterward. His only official statement since his departure from the diocese, a letter released in July, said he had been in the Holy Land on sabbatical and that he was writing and researching a project.

9 Responses to Man sues former priest, ex-bishop in abuse case

  1. Sylvia from Niagara says:

    I believe that as a Catholic parishoner and a someone that I believes that I have a relationship with Jesus that if Bishop Wingle truly was resigning for the good of the Church and the diocese then rather then run away he would have stayed to be a true shepard of Christ and did what Christ would have done; not runaway to the Holy Land on a sabbatical but stayed and faced the victim and all the angry parents. Bishop Wingle would of been accountable. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s not what the Catholic Church or priests or bishops or Pope have been or are being ACCOUNTABLE. I guess none of them know Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savoiour after all. May God Have Mercy on the Catholic Church and all the Priest, Bishops, Archbishops and Anyone Else that helps them keep covering up their sick and perverse evilness. I know that Jesus Christ that created the church that was passed onto Peter will survive because God is Almight. Amen

  2. Tim says:

    And, now, the lawyers can not find either Greco, or Bishop Wingle !!! Maybe there should be a TV series on this stuff ! Tim

  3. Sylvia says:

    You’re right Tim 🙂 The one for sure as far as Grecco is concerned is that he is supposed to appear for sentencing 29 Ocotober. I suppose he could be served then and there? I don’t know how these things work, but I would think that if he’s among the missing right now he should resurface on the 29th?

    I wonder if he still has his passport? hope not!

  4. Tim says:

    They might check out the Eganville home of the Bishop. He has been around there since his sudden departure, or epiphany, as the case may be. Tim

  5. Larry says:

    Hello Sylvia.
    I agree with you in the implicit claim that the church is very important to the spiritual well being of all who want to be nourished by her. She is the “Bride Of Christ.”
    Peter is the rock upon which Jesus built His church. I think it is vitaly important though Sylvia to recognize that each and every human being is invited to the great wedding feast at the time of our death where we as an individual become the “Bride” of Christ. This beautiful union is what we are preparing for and the church is but one of the means by which we should.Our love and faith in Christ along with our love and hope for our brothers and siters in humanity transcends any notion of church because it is for these that the church exists.
    The catholic church since Peter has undergone many very substantial transformations and no doubt they were always very painful especially for those who thought that Christ was absent through them. It’s clear now though that Jesus was not only present but was the principle mover , just as I believe He is now.
    I believe it’s an error to think that the survivol of the church means it must remain in it’s present form. Transition is always very painfull, but where there is death there is new life. I pray for no more and no less than ” God’s Will Be Done.”
    Respectfully, Larry

  6. Sylvia says:

    Larry, I agree with the prayer “They will be done” 🙂

  7. Larry says:

    The prayer is that I receive the knowledge of what God’s Will is and the virtue to do not my will, but His.

  8. Sylvia says:

    Seek and ye shall find Larry.

    Tim, has Bishop Wingle been in Eganville more than once over the past months? Has he been there recently?

  9. Tim says:

    I was told that he was at the old family farm more than 8 weeks ago. It may not be factual- but, not much else about him is right now.

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