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KBA Attorneys Derek Braslow & Christina Graziano File Suit against Erie County Catholic Church over Sex Abuse Cover-up

  • July 24, 2020
  • KBA Attorneys
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Decades of abuse

KBA fights for survivors of Catholic Church sex abuse. Led by KBA Partner, Derek Braslow, KBA’s sexual assault practice group has filed claims for survivors of Boy Scouts as well. Both institutions allowed abuse of children for decades.

Catholic clergy members engaged in horrible sexual abuse involving children including, rape. The Church covered-up the abuse. The Pennsylvania Attorney General grand jury report released Aug. 14, 2018, details some of the history. The Church has avoided responsibility in many cases, until recently.

While the Catholic Church is getting bailouts from U.S. taxpayers, it and its local dioceses are claiming bankruptcy to minimize the damages it must pay survivors. At the same time, the Pope is preaching about wealth redistribution. The Church needs to distribute its wealth to survivors like KBA’s client for whom KBA recently filed suit.

KBA filed suit against the Catholic Diocese of Erie in Erie County Court

KBA attorney Christina Graziano drafted a detailed, hard-hitting complaint – the document that starts a lawsuit – on behalf of our client. After investigating the claim for some time, KBA Partner Derek Braslow filed it in Erie County Court.

The Complaint alleges the Church covered-up child sex abuse allegations against the Rev. Michael G. Barletta. As at GoErie.com reported, Barletta was one of 301 “predator priests” in the statewide grand jury report issued two years ago.

KBA’s client alleges Barletta sexually molested her in the mid-1970s. She was a student at St. Luke’s in Erie. She also witnessed him molest boys at St. Luke’s.

Fraudulent Concealment  

Injured parties must file lawsuits within a specific amount of time. Each state has laws called, statutes of limitations, that dictate how much time one has from the date of injury until they must file a lawsuit. It varies from one to as many as six years across the U.S. It is two years in Pennsylvania.

For various reasons, people are sometimes unable to bring a lawsuit within those time frames. Courts recognize fraudulent concealment as an exception to statute of limitation laws. Fraudulent concealment basically means the defendant hid facts from and misled the plaintiff, damaging her.

As GoErie reported, “claims of fraudulent concealment related to clergy sexual abuse have been allowed in Pennsylvania since June 2019, when the state Superior Court ruled in favor of a woman who sued the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.” The seminal ruling in Pennsylvania has given survivors a chance to recover against the Church for its role in covering up decades of sexual abuse by predator priests. Here, KBA alleges the Erie County Dioceses knew and should have known of Barletta’s conduct given prior incidents.

KBA is litigating against the Catholic Diocese of Erie to help survivors

Barletta received a copy of the Complaint that KBA filed. As GoErie reported, he is in is 80s living in Erie. He is no longer practicing because he is on the diocese’s list of priests and laypeople credibly accused of abuse or other actions that disqualifies him from working with children. Christina and Derek are passionate about his clients and will fight for justice for Barletta’s victims.