© 2023 Maine Public | Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
header.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Maine woman alleges she was abused by a Roman Catholic priest nearly 60 years ago

annallen1.jpg
Ann Allen holds her first communion photo.

A Cumberland County woman has filed a civil complaint against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, alleging she was sexually abused by a priest that the Diocese knew was a predator, and who was reassigned to another parish.

At a Portland news conference Thursday, Ann Allen told reporters that she was 7 years old in 1964, when Father Lawrence Sabatino abused her in the basement of St. Peter's Church.

"This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. My name is Ann Marie Burke Allen. It's important that you know that. It's important to me that I found my voice — it will help me to heal," she said.

Allen says she never told anyone about the incident, but after moving back to Maine decided that it was time to speak up.

"It's never too late to tell. It's never to late to heal. I want to encourage other victims to come forward to begin finding their voice and courage. And realize that they didn't do anything wrong, and that they have nothing to be ashamed of," she said.

Allen is one of several people who have filed suit following a revision in Maine law last year that lifted the statute of limitations on civil complaints brought by child sexual abuse victims born prior to 1970.

Maine's attorney general investigated allegations of child sex abuse by priests, including Sabatino, in 2004, noting that the first complaint against him occurred in 1958, when he allegedly abused a girl at a Lewiston parish. Sabatino served at a total of 7 parishes until he died in 1990.

Allen is seeking unspecified monetary damages.