DALLAS (ChurchMilitant.com) - A former student is sending a message to the Catholic Church by demanding a jury trial for a lawsuit alleging abuse by the former president of a Dallas Jesuit high school.
Filed Monday in the Dallas County civil court, the victim, identified as John Doe, is alleging Fr. Patrick Koch, the president of Jesuit College Preparatory School (referred to in the suit as "the School") at the time, sexually assaulted him while he was a sophomore in the 1980s.
The lawsuit does not request a monetary figure for the victim's "lifelong and life-altering damage" as a result of the alleged sexual assault he suffered at the hands of Koch. Instead, it seeks to use the courts to end the cover-up maintained by the Church and others.
The suit names the school, the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province and four Texas dioceses — Dallas, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Galveston-Houston.
"This case is yet another attempt to seek accountability and justice for the massive systemic cover-up of sexual abuse that has been occurring in the Roman Catholic Church," the lawsuit notes. "Through discovery, this lawsuit will expose what the School and the Diocese knew — answers which to this point have been hidden from the public and John Doe."
In May, the diocese of Dallas was raided by the Dallas police after a detective claimed Church officials "thwarted" their investigation into their investigation of Fr. Edmundo Paredes. Paredes allegedly molested three boys in the 1990s and his current whereabouts are not known.
The lawsuit also claims Koch "did not and could not have acted alone."
"He was in the position to abuse John Doe because of the actions of the Defendants in the case and their cover-up of the dangers at the School, the danger of Patrick Koch, and the systemic crisis," the suit claims.
The suit argues that Koch's history of numerous transfers fits the pattern of the Church has used to shield abusive priests.
Koch's inclusion on the diocese of Corpus Christi's list of credibly accused priests "is an acknowledgment that there were one or more credible accusations of sexual abuse of a minor against Koch while he was at the school within the Corpus Christi Diocese between 1960–66," the suit argues.
The Jesuits' list released in January did not contain Fr. Koch's name nor was their list updated to include it after the dioceses of Dallas and Corpus Christi listed him.
The suit explains Jesuit College acknowledged there have been 11 priests who have been credibly accused of engaging in sexual abuse of students during the Jesuit's tenure at the school. Later, after Dallas listed Koch, Jesuit College admitted he and three other priests had credible allegations.
"Beyond the issue of not disclosing Koch, what stands out about the acknowledgments of the School is that during the time period of the late 1970s and early 1980s, there were at least eight priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse who were at the School," according to the suit.
In addition to Fr. Koch, the lawsuit names Thomas Naughton, Don Dickerson, Vincent Malatesta, Vincent Orlando, Claude Ory, Ben Smylie and Thomas Haller. Dickerson was accused of plying a minor with alcohol before raping him in another suit filed in March.
The suit also describes inappropriate behavior by Dickerson towards Doe. Dickerson would often come up behind Doe and massage his shoulders asking how he was doing.
"On one occasion, Dickerson tackled John Doe in a crowded hallway, got on John Doe's back and rode him like a horse. Another student made Dickerson stop," the suit notes.
Doe describes at length in the suit what led up to the assault and how little by little his "boundaries were tested by the groomers."
Jesuit College's grant program required students to work after school during their freshman and sophomore years in exchange for tuition assistance. Doe and other students on this program needed to perform 200 hours of service, and some students worked until 9 p.m.
Doe claims to have been groomed during that time. His personal boundaries would be tested and normalized until eventually he was invited to go back to the priests' residence. The suit describes how the grooming continued:
There, he was shown glimpses of transgressions or rule violations. He would see priests appearing to be intoxicated. Priests engaged in social behavior and taking boys out at night. Specifically, [Doe] remembers walking by a partially closed door and catching a glimpse into a room with a student on a Lazy-Boy and a priest sitting on the arm of it, too close.
Although he knew things were going on that should not be, "John Doe was locked into the mentality of a victim of grooming." If he spoke out, he would be doing so against the religious leaders of the school, lose his financial aid and possibly be expelled.
Church Militant was contacted by another former student of the school who attended during the same time the victim did who said Koch was one of the most revered and well-known priests in Dallas at the time.
"I knew him fairly well and was a student in one of his classes," he said. He said Koch had "stacks of magazine porn" he would use under the guise of teaching human sexuality "to counter desensitization of the female body, demonstrate the vileness of porn and damage to women, etc."
"Koch's Stash," as it was called, was often shown to the sophomores, and the former student explained, "In one set of exercises, we were asked to name all the slang terms for [body parts]," he said, adding, "No filter."
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Doe claimed Koch "was the face of Jesuit."
"He was revered," Doe said. "If you did not know about this other side, then you knew him to be the nicest, and people will say, one of the most Christ-like guys there was."
Koch's family filed a canon law appeal to have his name removed from the credibly accused lists.
In response to media requests, the diocese of Dallas released a statement saying: "The Diocese of Dallas has yet to be served with this lawsuit and has not had a chance to thoroughly review it."
Jesuit College Preparatory School's president, Mike Earsing, also responded to Church Militant's inquiry about the lawsuit: "We have not yet been served with the lawsuit or reviewed its contents. Nor would it be appropriate to discuss the specifics of this lawsuit. We continue to extend our compassion and support for all victims of sexual misconduct and abuse."
"There can be no healing without accountability and complete transparency," Doe's suit said. "Empty words of apologies do nothing when misconduct continues to be hidden and full accountability denied."