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Courts and Crime

Three men sue Maine Catholic bishop over alleged sex abuse decades ago following law change

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courtesy of Berman & Simmons Trial Attorneys
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Robert Dupuis says he was 12 and worked for Father John J. Curran at St. Joseph Church in Old Town when Curran abused him in 1961. Dupuis is one of three men who say they were sexually abused as children by Maine clergy members.

Three people who say they were sexually abused as children by Maine clergy members have filed civil complaints against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland. The claims allege that the abuse dates back to 1961 and, in some cases, continued into the 2000s. Robert Dupuis says he was 12 and worked for Father John J. Curran at St. Joseph Church in Old Town when Curran abused him in 1961. Attorney Michael Bigos, who represents the three plaintiffs, says the Roman Catholic Diocese's child abuse prevention policy did far too little to protect the children.

"The survivors experienced grooming and abuse perpetrated by priests and other staff of the Catholic Church. They were particularly vulnerable and the power differential between the priests and the children was of great disparity," Bigos said.

In a statement, Dupuis said he has lived a life of dysfunction and mistrust since being abused and wants the church to take full accountability for its negligence and malice. Father Curran continued to serve as a priest at other parishes until 1972. He died in 1976. The two other alleged victims wish to remain anonymous. Their suits involve churches in Biddeford and Westbrook. They can now file complaints because a law enacted a year ago lifted the statute of limitations in such cases.