Ex-Hoosier Priest Accused of Abuse
Lawyer for 13 Men Wants Criminal Charges
By Ashley M. Heher
The Associated Press, carried in Journal Gazette
August 18, 2006
Indianapolis – An attorney representing several men who claim they were sexually abused as teenagers by a former Indiana priest asked eight county prosecutors Thursday to file criminal charges against the man.
Minnesota attorney Patrick Noaker, who's filed 13 civil cases against Harry Monroe, called the former priest a "serial predator."
Noaker mailed a 130-page report detailing the abuse allegations to prosecutors in Kosciusko, Brown, Floyd, Marion, Parke, Perry, Vigo and Sullivan counties on Tuesday. He said he hopes the information will prompt the filing of criminal charges against Monroe.
The report, which was drafted by a former FBI agent, says Monroe could still face criminal charges for the alleged abuse in the 1980s.
Monroe has never been prosecuted in Indiana for sex abuse. Authorities have said that is because the statute of limitations required that charges be filed by the time the victims turned 31. Most of Monroe's accusers are now in their mid-30s or older.
Noaker said, however, that legal precedent allows that deadline to be extended if a perpetrator moves out of state. He said Monroe has been living in Tennessee since 1984, the year the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis stripped Monroe of his ministry.
"Father Harry Monroe is a serial predator who needs to be in jail," Noaker said. "My clients are worried that children are still at risk."
A message seeking comment was left Thursday at the office of Monroe's attorney, Brian Ciyou of Indianapolis, who has declined to comment on previous lawsuits filed against Monroe.
Thursday's announcement came as Noaker filed a 13th lawsuit in Vigo County against Monroe, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn.
The suit, which was filed on behalf of a 39-year old man, claims Monroe abused the then-teenager in 1980 and 1981 when the priest worked at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Terre Haute.
Noaker said the archdiocese should help with Monroe's prosecution by providing prosecutors with personnel records and other information related to his time with the archdiocese. He said the church has not provided those files as part of the discovery process in the civil cases.
A spokesman for the Indianapolis Archdiocese, which is also named in Noaker's lawsuits, declined to comment on the latest filing but said the church is cooperating with authorities and has provided records.
"We've always have offered that for anybody who comes forward saying they may have been abused in any kind of way, the Archdiocese pays for counseling and medical expenses for people," spokesman Greg Otolski said.
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