A former parishioner from Massachusetts has leveled accusations against a current member of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Keep reading to learn more.
John Doe No. 12
The plaintiff in the case, John Doe No. 12, alleges that as a 12 year old, he was sexually assaulted 25 times by Paul Fitzpatrick Russell at Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart Parish. The Archdiocese of Detroit stated that Russell denied the claim, and stated that he is hurt by the accusation.
The suit also names the Bishop’s former supervisor at the Archdiocese of Boston. However, no statement from him is available at this time. The parish also chose to withhold any comments as the case is ongoing.
Russell was ordained in 1987 and became priest-secretary to the now deceased Boston Cardinal Bernard Law and joined the Vatican’s diplomatic service as ambassador to Azerbaijan, Turkey and other countries. During his tenure, he allegedly encountered the plaintiff at a food bank. Russell allegedly took the boy to the rectory and began grooming him. Eventually, the grooming turned to assault.
As a result of the abuse, the man began a lifelong addiction to substances as a coping mechanism. He sought treatment and pursued therapy for mental health. The plaintiff now lives outside of Massachusetts and filed his claim after many former parishioners came forward over the last several years.
Previous cases of clergy sex abuse have raised questions about the statute of limitations. However, it’s important to note that criminal sexual abuse of a minor has a statute of limitation of 20 or so years. However, the clock starts ticking when the victim turns 18. This means that depending on the age in which the victim was assaulted, they could have more than 20 years to report.
It’s also important to recognize that federal law for civil charges has no statute of limitations. In other words, if a civil lawsuit is filed claiming child sexual abuse, there is no statute of limitations and the plaintiff can file at any time.