Woman Sues Phila. Archdiocese, Shrine Over Alleged Priest Sex Assault

By Mark Abrams and Walt Hunter

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS)A lawsuit filed today in Bucks County alleges that a priest sexually assaulted a woman during a retreat at a popular religious shrine.

The victim’s suit says the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the priest’s order, and the Bucks County DA’s office failed to act.

Bucks County-based attorney Marci Hamilton says a woman and her husband from central Pennsylvania are suing the archdiocese, the Pauline Fathers, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and Father Marek Lacki.

Hamilton alleges that Lacki lured the woman, a devout Catholic and mother of nine, to a retreat at the shrine in March of last year.

“She was specifically invited to come by herself.  She spent three days at the shrine for personal counseling.  And what happened was that she was sexually assaulted by this priest,” Hamilton tells KYW Newsradio.

Hamilton says the woman and her husband met the priest a few weeks earlier, while helping out at another retreat.  She says the priest learned of her past as a victim of child sex abuse and that the couple was having difficulties.

The woman reported the assault and the archdiocese was called, and officials there contacted the Bucks County DA’s office.

But the DA’s office says a detective interviewed the woman and the priest and deemed the allegations weren’t credible.

The priest has since returned to Poland. The archdiocese declined comment.