Diocese fails to suspend priest who violated sexual misconduct policy before molesting teen

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Recent Cases: Clergy

July/August 2010, Volume 25, No. 4

Diocese fails to suspend priest who violated sexual misconduct policy before molesting teen 

Doe v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, N.C., Mecklenburg Co. Super., No. 08CVS-23161, May 7, 2010.

 

Doe, 14, served as an altar boy at St. Matthew Catholic Church. Robert Yurgel worked as a priest at St. Matthew and at Our Lady of Consolation. For a six-month period during 1999, Yurgel allegedly molested Doe numerous times. The alleged molestation included fondling and oral sex and occurred in various places, including in the sanctuary of St. Matthew and in the rectory of Our Lady of Consolation.

 

Doe suffered emotional distress, necessitating counseling. Almost 10 years later, Yurgel pleaded guilty to a second-degree sex offense, and he is currently serving a prison term on those charges.

 

Doe sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, alleging fraudulent concealment and breach of fiduciary duty.

 

The plaintiff charged that the defendant had known about a previous homosexual relationship Yurgel had with a married parishioner and that its failure to enforce its sexual misconduct policy—which would have required the diocese to suspend Yurgel—enabled him to molest Doe.

 

The parties settled before trial for $1 million.

 

Plaintiff’s Counsel

 

Seth H. Langson, Charlotte, N.C.

James P. Cooney III, Charlotte, N.C.

 

Comment: See also Doe v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Vt., 23 PNLR 128 (Sept. 2008); Doe v. Liberatore, 23 PNLR 3 (Feb. 2008); Roman Catholic Diocese of Jackson v. Morrison, 905 So. 2d 1213 (Miss. 2005), 20 PNLR 123 (Sept. 2005); Doe v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville, 154 S.W.3d 22 (Tenn. 2005), 20 PNLR 44 (Apr. 2005), 21 PNLR 28 (Mar. 2006); Doe v. Diocese of Palm Beach, Inc., 19 PNLR 128 (Sept. 2004); and Leary v. Geoghan, 17 PNLR 183 (Dec. 2002).

 

Documents in Burlington, Liberatore, Morrison, Nashville, Palm Beach, and Leary are available, courtesy of counsel.


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