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Monday, December 11, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Woman Claims Jesuits Broke Their Word

ST. LOUIS (CN) - The Jesuits violated a settlement agreement by allowing a priest who sexually assaulted a woman to continue in public ministry, the woman claims in court.

Jane Doe MB sued the Jesuits of the Missouri Province and Fr. Daniel C. O'Connell, in City Court.

She claims in the complaint that O'Connell sexually assaulted her in 1983 while she was a student at Loyola University of Chicago, where O'Connell was a chaplain.

Doe says she approached the Jesuits' Rev. Frank Reale to discuss the assault, and that she and the Jesuits came to a settlement agreement in 2003, which stated that O'Connell would no longer engage in public ministry.

"Defendant Order has violated this term of the agreement by allowing and encouraging Fr. Daniel C. O'Connell to perform public ministry, including giving public mass in Germany as well as speaking and teaching at universities," the complaint states.

"After plaintiff's meeting with Rev. Frank Reale, a person using the name 'Realeloser' began harassing the plaintiff over the Internet.

"Plaintiff reported the conduct of the person using the name 'Realeloser' to the defendant Order.

"Defendant Order maintains supervision over defendant O'Connell but has not taken effective measures to control this harassment.

"Plaintiff continues to suffer harassment through the Internet related to her experience with Fr. Daniel C. O'Connell."

Doe seeks enforcement of the settlement agreement and compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract, breach of faith and fair dealing, fraudulent inducement, failure to supervise clergy, negligent supervision, breach of confidential duty, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

She claims she has incurred $86,250 in counseling expenses, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and lost wages.

She is represented by Rebecca M. Randles, with Randles, Mata & Brown, of Kansas City, Mo.

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