Watch CBS News

Philadelphia Archdiocese Faces New Priest-Abuse Suit

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- John Doe 168 was in fourth grade when he says the abuse began. At the time, he says his priest at Our Lady of Calvary in Northeast Philadelphia abused him, Father John Gillespie.

But he kept quiet.

"People like that in the community that I lived in were very well respected and looked up to and in their eyes, I was just a dumb kid," Doe said, not wanting to reveal his name. "What do I know?"

For twenty years, that kid did not say a word about what he says happened. He suffered in private for the abuse he says he went through between 1988 and 1991.

Then he saw the news of another man coming forward two weeks ago. Phil Gaughan says Father Gillespie abused him at the same church. Gaughan gave the latest victim the courage he needed.

"If he could come forward," said Doe, "I decided I needed to take action."

"I fully support this gentleman in coming forward and his courage to come forward," said Gaughan.

Oren Liebermann reports...

Like Gaughan, John Doe filed suit against the Archdiocese for covering up reports of abuse and failing to protect children. Doe's lawyers announced his suit Monday afternoon.

"While some of these crimes have been known, little or nothing has changed in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia," said Jeff Anderson, Doe's attorney.

"I wish I would've said something but I can't go back and that's kind of what prompted me to come forward now," Doe said. "I didn't want to be 60 70 80 years old and saying I wish I would've, I wish I would've."

For John Doe, the possibility of another child becoming a victim helped him overcome his fear of coming forward. Now he says he hopes other victims are ready to come forward as well.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.