March 31, 2005

Sex harassment claim filed against church

Edmonton Sun


LONDON, Ont. -- A Brazilian couple filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of London, claiming sexual harassment by a priest at a London church. In their statement of claim, the couple allege the priest used his position as their spiritual leader and supporter of their immigration application first to demand sexual favours from the woman and, later, to quell the complaint.

Jose and Isabel Do Prado, in Canada on visitor's and work visas while they apply for landed immigrant status, filed the $3.1-million suit in Superior Court in London.

Named as defendants are Rev. Lucio Xavier Couto, Bishop Ronald Peter Fabbro and the diocese.

The diocese released a statement last night about the lawsuit: "The Diocese of London has received a statement of claim alleging misconduct by one of our priests. We take all such allegations very seriously. We are studying the statement of claim and we will prepare our response."

The statement of claim contains allegations not yet proven in court.

It states that Isabel Do Prado suffered "sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, sexual assault and battery" at the hands of Couto while working as a housekeeper at the rectory of Holy Cross church between September 2000 and May 2002.

Posted by kshaw at March 31, 2005 07:16 AM