NESQUEHONING, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A 29-year-old man has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Allentown, its past and current bishop and one of its former priests in connection with sexual abuse he allegedly suffered as a child.
Lawyers say the complaint is a direct result of the Pennsylvania grand jury report involving the catholic church that was released three months ago.
The lawsuit was filed in Lehigh County.
It was filed under the name “John Doe” so the man can stay anonymous for now.
It claims while a young boy in Carbon County, the man was abused by a pedophile priest and the Diocese of Allentown knew the priest had a troubled past for more than a decade.
The lawsuit is 14 pages.
Lawyers believe it may be the first legal action taken since a scathing grand jury report involving the catholic church was released by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General in August.
“This is a case, not just about a child abuser, it’s about an organization, that for its own purposes as we’ve alleged in the complaint, kept the abuser in an active ministry,” attorney Gerald J. Williams said.
The lawsuit centers around the actions of Bruno Tucci.
Tucci is a former priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Nesquehoning.
The accuser says between 1999 and 2001 when he was just ten to twelve years old, serving as an alter boy, he was abused by Tucci.
The problem is that lawyers say the Diocese of Allentown knew that someone else had accused Tucci of abuse in 1991.
“We know they knew this for ten years, that this abuser had admitted he had abused someone ten years before our client was ever in that church, that this abuser was abusing children before our client was ever born!” attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel said.
After the 1991 incident, lawyers say Tucci was sent to a facility in New Mexico where he was supposed to be “evaluated” and “treated” which was not staffed by “licensed professionals.”
“It was a vessel for the diocese to recycle abusing priests back into the ministry. It provided no real treatment for pedophilia whatsoever,” Williams.
After his time in New Mexico, Tucci was allowed to return to Carbon County to possibly molest others.
That is when Tucci may have allegedly met this accuser.
“How does that even happen? How can you allow somebody who is an admitted child molester to be around other children?” attorney Muhammad S. Aziz asked.
The lawsuit filed Monday says the Diocese of Allentown failed to protect children from Tucci after the first complaint was made.
In response, the Diocese of Allentown issued a statement Monday saying “abuse is abhorrent.”
The statement also says the new bishop has “set a clear tone of zero tolerance and of keeping children safe.”