July 20, 2005

Pilla testifies 6 hours in sex-abuse lawsuit

Plain Dealer

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
James F. McCarty
Plain Dealer Reporter

Nearing the end of six hours of sworn testimony, Bishop Anthony Pilla shrugged his shoulders and smiled Tuesday:

"I'm sorry, I'm getting a little tired," Pilla said, according to a video recording of the bishop taken in a closed-door session at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.

A lawyer representing a sex-abuse victim and his parents subpoenaed the bishop to submit to questioning in connection with a libel lawsuit the family brought against the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

At the heart of the lawsuit is a 1981 sexual assault by the Rev. F. James Mulica, pastor of the Chapel of the Divine Word in Kirtland, against a then-14-year-old boy named Christopher Kodger. The diocese paid the victim $45,000 and agreed to keep Mulica away from children.

But within four years, Mulica was reassigned to St. Jude Church in Elyria, and later to Holy Redeemer Church in Cleveland -- both of which had schools.

Posted by kshaw at July 20, 2005 06:33 AM