May 04, 2005

Abuse by N.Y. priest alleged

Boston Globe

By Scott Goldstein, Globe Correspondent | May 4, 2005

An Albany, N.Y., priest removed from the ministry in 2002 for sexual misconduct is now accused of abusing and raping a child on overnight trips to Boston in the 1980s, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Suffolk Superior Court.

David Bentley allegedly sexually abused Michael Cleveland, now 34, over a four-year period, beginning in 1981, when Cleveland was 11.

The 17-page complaint also alleges that Bishop Howard Hubbard of the Catholic Diocese of Albany knew of and failed to stop the abuse. The lawsuit seeks $4 million.

According to the complaint, Bentley took Cleveland on trips to ''Saratoga Lake, Washington Park, and other areas to fish, a sport [Cleveland] loved as a child and which the defendant Bentley used as a way to lure the child." Cleveland alleges that much of the abuse occurred on Bentley's boat, which he docked in Boston.

Bentley engaged in ''vile acts of sexual abuse," according to the complaint, which also alleges that Hubbard engaged in a conspiracy to hide and allow the abuse.

Cleveland and his lawyer, John A. Aretakis, interviewed by phone yesterday, said he met Bentley through his three half brothers. Aretakis said Cleveland's brothers received settlements for alleged abuse by Bentley. Michael Cleveland did not.

Posted by kshaw at May 4, 2005 07:54 AM