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2 New Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against the Diocese of Phoenix & St. Thomas the Apostle Parish

Under Arizona’s Child Victims Act, HB 2466, Montoya, Lucero & Pastor, P.A.​ filed lawsuits on behalf of two courageous survivors of clergy sexual abuse. According to their lawsuits, “John MW Doe” and “John HT Doe” suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the celebrated priest, Father John P. Doran, in the early 1970s. The now-grown men filed lawsuits against the Diocese of Phoenix and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish under the Arizona Child Victims Act. The new law gives all survivors of childhood sexual abuse until December 31, 2020, to hold perpetrators and the institutions that allowed the abuse to occur accountable, regardless of the pre-existing statute of limitations. Survivors must act by December 31, 2020.

Our very own Attorney Robert Pastor commended their bravery:

The two men who have come forward have waited decades for the Bishop of Phoenix to be fully transparent about the pedophile priests working in this Diocese. They are taking the first step to help expose the truth about Father John P. Doran and others like him. We know the courage they have shown by coming forward will protect children in the future and, hopefully, help foster healing in those who are still suffering.”

John MW Doe’s Story

As a member of a large Catholic family and a devoted parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix, John MW Doe met and came to know Father Doran. Our client was a student at the parish school in the 1960s and 1970s and was under 15 years old when the alleged abuse took place. He was sexually abused on several occasions at both the church and a cabin in the White Mountains where Father Doran took him.

John HT Doe’s Story

John HT Doe and his mother were close to Father Doran. Our client and his family were parishioners at St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix, and his mother relied on Father Doran for spiritual, and sometimes financial, support. This close relationship allowed Father Doran to groom and manipulate the family. Father Doran used his position of trust and authority to sexually abuse the boy.

How the Church Allowed the Abuse

For years, shame and embarrassment kept victims of Father Doran’s alleged abuse silent. Both John MW Doe and John HT Doe suffered physical, psychological, and emotional harm while they tried to cope with the trauma caused by sexual abuse. In an agreement with criminal prosecutors, the Bishop of Phoenix admitted to moving pedophile priests to knew assignments in an effort to cover-up child sexual abuse by Catholic priests. St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, alone, was home to other pedophile priests including Father Jack Spaulding and Father Mark Lehman.

Father Doran was ordained in Tucson in 1945 and became a priest under the Diocese of Phoenix in December 1969. He spent more than 20 years as the founding Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish before moving on to Our Lady of Joy Paris in Carefree, Arizona, and St. Maris Parish in Scottsdale. Father Doran died in 1997. The Diocese of Phoenix and St. Thomas the Apostle continued to celebrate Father Doran by keeping his name on the church hall until 2003 when one of the first allegations of child sexual abuse came to light.

One lawsuit revealed that a young boy’s family reported Father Doran’s misconduct after Father Doran sexually abuses him in the 1960s, but church officials asked the family to keep the abuse a secret because according to church leaders, creating a scandal would be a bigger sin than the sexual abuse inflicted on children throughout the Diocese of Phoenix.

Father Doran Was Not the Only Perpetrator

Father Doran is 1 of 109 known abusive priests and clerics in the Diocese of Phoenix. In partnership with Jeff Anderson & Associates, our firm created an extensive report of the identities, histories, and photographs of all Catholic clerics who have been accused of child sexual abuse within the Diocese of Phoenix.

In 2003, Bishop Thomas O’Brien, who served as the Bishop of Phoenix from 1982 to 2003, admitted that he protected pedophile priests instead of protecting children. Bishop O’Brien described in a written agreement with criminal prosecutors that he allowed priests under his supervision to work with children after learning that priests had sexually abused minors. Arizona’s new law now gives the countless number of victims of child sexual abuse to come forward anonymously and hold the Diocese of Phoenix accountable.

As more survivors continue to come forward, their voice and their power grows with them. Together, the lawyers at Montoya, Lucero & Pastor, PA are committed to walking with survivors to demand answers, expose the truth and ensure that this never happens to another child in the Diocese of Phoenix.

We Can Help You Come Forward Today

Montoya, Lucero & Pastor, P.A. has been fighting for survivors of child sexual abuse to hold the Diocese of Phoenix accountable for its misdeeds for many years, but our work is far from over. If you or your loved one was sexually abused at the hands of a priest or other religious worker, you deserve justice. For a limited time, you can seek justice in civil court no matter when the abuse occurred.

Arizona Childs Victims Act, HB 2466, allows all victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring lawsuits against perpetrators and the institutions that are protected. Survivors must act before December 31, 2020.

Survivors can come forward anonymously to reclaim their voice and uncover the secrets the Diocese of Phoenix continues to hide.

It’s time. Please call us at (602) 483-6869 or contact us online for a free confidential consultation.