Dallas Diocese Sued Over Sex Abuse


.c The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) -- Four months after agreeing to pay $23.4 million in a sex-abuse case, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas faces two more lawsuits involving the same former priest and another former priest.

The lawsuits charge that three young boys were assaulted in the 1980s and early '90s by Rudolph "Rudy" Kos, the subject of the case settled in July, and Robert Peebles Jr. The diocese has previously also paid to settle charges involving Peebles.

The diocese took the unusual step Thursday of announcing that it was being sued again.

Spokeswoman Lisa LeMaster said officials thought the Kos case had been closed with the earlier payment, and they were "surprised and disappointed" that the same lawyer was "coming back to the Church for more money."

Ms. LeMaster said the lawyer, Windle Turley of Dallas, indicated during negotiations this summer that he had no further sex-abuse cases.

But in a written statement Thursday, Turley disputed the diocese's account.

Turley said other alleged victims of abuse by Kos never dropped their cases.

"These three victims, all who have been known to the Diocese for years, have every right to assert their own injury claims just as they have done," Turley wrote.

The new lawsuits charge that the diocese was negligent in hiring Kos and Peebles and giving them positions of trust and authority over young boys. The lawsuits charge that the diocese knew or should have known about the priests' sexual activities.

The original Kos case involved 11 plaintiffs, including eight former altar boys, who charged that Kos molested them over more than a decade and that diocese officials knew about the situation but covered it up.

Three plaintiffs settled for $7.5 million before the case went to trial. In July 1997, a Dallas County jury awarded the other eight plaintiffs $119.6 million, the largest judgment ever against a diocese. The diocese said it didn't have enough assets to pay the award, and it began negotiating a settlement.

In July, the diocese reached a $23.4-million agreement with Turley, covering the other eight plaintiffs and a ninth person who was not included in the jury verdict.

Kos is now serving a life sentence after being convicted of sexually assaulting several altar boys. The Vatican removed him from the priesthood.

Peebles and another former priest were accused of sexual abuse in cases that the diocese settled in February for $5 million. Peebles was accused of sexually abusing four boys while serving in the diocese and as a U.S. Army chaplain in the '80s.

AP-NY-11-05-98 2244EST

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.


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