4 from Penobscot Tribal Nation sue Maine Catholic Diocese for sexual abuse allegations

Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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(WABI) - Four survivors of childhood sexual abuse, all from the Penobscot Tribal Nation, have come forward to file civil complaints against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland.

Attorneys from Berman and Simmons say three of the victims were abused at St. Ann Parish between 1972 and 1979 when they were between the ages of seven and 12.

They say the other victim was 16 when he was abused in 1987.

The three priests accused of the abuse are Marcel Robitaille, David Paul Cote, and Leo James Michaud.

Attorney Michael Bigos says this is yet another case of the Maine Catholic Diocese failing to protect children across the state.

“Let them be a symbol of the worst of the cover up of the secrecy and the enabling of the abuse and let them have their day in court,” said Bigos. “Let this filing of their lawsuits allow the discovery process to proceed. Let us find out what the Diocese knew and when they knew it.”

One of the plaintiffs, who was present at the press conference, says he saw others speak up about the abuse and realized he was not alone.

Until the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse was lifted in 2021, survivors had no legal path to hold alleged abusers accountable.

Berman and Simmons are now handling 25 lawsuits against the diocese.

We reached out to the diocese for a comment, but we have not heard back.