Northeast Times

Nine plaintiffs file sex molestation lawsuits against Archdiocese of Phila.

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A Holmes­burg man who al­leged he was mo­les­ted at a North­east Cath­ol­ic par­ish school, was among nine plaintiffs who filed eight law­suits against the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia, its lead­er­ship and sev­en priests.

At a Cen­ter City news con­fer­ence, An­drew Drud­ing of Vista Street said he was re­peatedly raped by Monsignor Fran­cis Fer­et when Drud­ing was a 9-year-old boy at St. Timothy R.C. Church’s school on the 3000 block of Levick St.

“I’ve been im­pacted every day of my life,” Drud­ing said.

The city’s Ro­man Cath­ol­ic arch­diocese in May found Fer­et un­suit­able for min­istry after in­vest­ig­at­ing sexu­al mis­con­duct al­leg­a­tions against him for more than a year.

Drud­ing said he was out­raged that the reas­on Fer­et was ruled un­suit­able was for “bound­ary vi­ol­a­tions,” not for rap­ing him. He said he was later told his case wasn’t part of the arch­diocese’s de­cision on Fer­et.

Fer­et was pas­tor of St. Adal­bert par­ish in Port Rich­mond in 2011 when then-Car­din­al Justin Rigali put him on leave.

Most plaintiffs who file suits in mo­lesta­tion cases do so as either John or Jane Does, but Drud­ing was one of three who made their iden­tit­ies pub­lic. Drud­ing and Mi­chael Mc­Don­nell spoke at a news con­fer­ence on Sept. 18 called by their at­tor­neys, Marci Hamilton, Dan Mo­n­ahan and Jeff An­der­son. The third al­leged vic­tim, Mi­chael Dale, was not present, nor were the un­named plaintiffs.

Drud­ing, who is now 51, said Fer­et re­peatedly mo­les­ted him between Oc­to­ber 1970 and June 1972. In his law­suit, Drud­ing stated he com­plained about the ab­use to a teach­er. He said he was brought to the school’s “moth­er su­per­i­or,” who was not named in the law­suit, who asked him if he knew what ly­ing was.

He didn’t com­plain again, he said, un­til 2006, when he saw Fer­et was of­fi­ci­at­ing at the fu­ner­al of slain Phil­adelphia Po­lice Of­ficer Gary Sker­ski. He said he was astoun­ded Fer­et still was a priest.

The at­tor­neys said the suits they filed bring their total com­plaints against the arch­diocese to 16 for 17 mo­lesta­tion vic­tims.

Be­sides Fer­et, suits were filed against former priest Ed­ward Avery, the Rev. Robert L. Bren­nan, the Rev. Joseph Galla­gh­er, the Rev. John Mul­hol­land, the Rev. John Schmeer and former priest Fran­cis X. Trauger.

Also named in all the law­suits are the arch­diocese, its cur­rent lead­er, Arch­bish­op Charles Chaput, Rigali and Monsignor Wil­li­am Lynn. In­di­vidu­al par­ishes also were named in the sep­ar­ate suits.

In a state­ment, the arch­diocese said it had not re­ceived cop­ies of the law­suits and couldn’t provide any in­form­a­tion on them.••End­Frag­ment 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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