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Catholic Diocese of Charleston facing new lawsuit

Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 5:54 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Catholic Diocese of Charleston is facing a new lawsuit. Court documents filed late Monday afternoon accuse a member of the church of sexual abuse and a systematic cover up of that abuse.

The charges were filed by a woman referred to as Mary Roe 1818. She alleges one of the priests, Frederick Austin McLean, repeatedly abused her and her sister when they were kids.

According to the suit, the abuse took place during the victim’s formative years as a child between 1961 and 1966.

Roe was part of the St. John Catholic Church and School where McLean was a priest and teacher with regular contact with children.

In March of 2019, the diocese released a list of priests with credible allegations of abuse of minors and McLean was on that list. He died in 2010 and cannot be named as a defendant.

The lawsuit alleges that the church knew about McLean’s behavior and covered it up. Even after that list was published, the lawsuit states there was no effort on the church’s part to locate Roe as one of his victims.

She is seeking an unspecified amount in damages. Maria Aselage, director of the office of media relations for the Diocese of Charleston, responded to the lawsuit.

“We received notice of this lawsuit late this afternoon and will be responding in due course,” Aselage said.

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