Slow progress in Grecco civil case

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The Niagara Falls Review

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 3:03:54 EST PM

By Allan Benner, The Tribune

Former priest Donald Grecco, who in March 2010 pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency after he sexually abused three teenaged altar boys in the 1970s and parts of the 1980s in Welland and Cayuga.

Former priest Donald Grecco, who in March 2010 pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency after he sexually abused three teenaged altar boys in the 1970s and parts of the 1980s in Welland and Cayuga.

DUNNVILLE – More than two years after filing a lawsuit against the priest convicted of molesting him when he was a teenage alter boy, Dunnville resident Michael Blum is still waiting for closure.

He was one of three victims former priest Donald Grecco was convicted of sexual abusing in Welland and Cayuga in the late 1970s and early 1980s. After pleading guilty to the charges against him in 2010, Grecco was released from custody in December 2011.

“There’s very little progress,” Blum said when contacted at his Dunnville home, Tuesday. “It’s very frustrating. He’s been out of prison now for quite some time.”

In 2010, Blum and two other victims, including former Welland resident James Hennessy who now lives in England and another man whose identity is protected by a publication ban, filed lawsuits for $3 million each against Grecco, the Diocese of St. Catharines and former bishop James Wingle.

Hennessy’s lawsuit was settled out of court last spring for an undisclosed sum, but Blum is still waiting.

Robert Talach, the lawyer representing the victims in the lawsuits, said examinations have been conducted with all involved parties with the exception of Wingle.

“We had mediation (sessions) scheduled for this coming month, but they were cancelled and moved to the summer,” he added.

No court dates have been set.

Blum said he hopes the mediation could lead to out-of-court settlements for his lawsuit as well.

Waiting for the lawsuit to be fought out in the courts, he added, could take years “and I just want closure.”

In the meantime, Blum said it’s a waiting game.

He said he has no idea about next steps.

“I’m basically at the mercy of the law firms,” he added.

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