October 12, 2005

Diocese accused of reneging on vow to provide counseling

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

The Toledo Catholic Diocese was accused yesterday of failing to live up to its promises and responsibilities by refusing to pay counseling bills of a man who was abused as a boy by a priest.

In a news conference outside the Catholic Center yesterday, Claudia Vercellotti and Barbara Blaine of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held up oversized copies of letters that diocesan officials sent to William Claar, a former Fremont resident living in Anchorage, stating that the church will not reimburse him for therapy it considers "outside the mainstream of traditional psychotherapy."

Mr. Claar, 46, was informed in a March 15, 2005, letter from Thomas Pletz, an attorney with the Toledo law firm Shumaker Loop & Kendrick that represents the diocese, that a panel of three Toledo-area psychiatrists appointed by the diocese had recommended against paying for the counseling by Elizabeth Wallmann-Filley, a licensed clinician in Anchorage.

The panel suggested Mr. Claar find a different therapist from among 90 mental-health-care professionals in Anchorage, according to Mr. Pletz's letter.

Mr. Claar filed a lawsuit against the diocese in 2002 alleging that he was raped and molested repeatedly, starting when he was a 13-year-old altar boy, by Bernard Kokocinski, a longtime Toledo diocesan priest. Mr. Kokocinski was barred from ministry in 2002.

Posted by kshaw at October 12, 2005 12:27 PM