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Harrisburg Diocese: Man Who Claims Sex Abuse by Two Priests Sues for Fraud, Conspiracy

A Missouri man claims the Diocese of Harrisburg and two of its bishops enabled two priests decades ago to sexually assault him as a child or worked to cover up the abuse.

Donald Asbee, now 67, attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Dauphin County in the 1960s. It was during that time that the Revs. Raymond Dougherty and Walter Sempko sexually assaulted him, according to a lawsuit he filed Monday in Dauphin County Court.

“I would often pass out,” he said. The sexual assaults were “well-orchestrated, as though I was receiving some sort of sacrament, and I was well on my way to total disassociation,” Asbee said at a news conference Tuesday inside the state Capitol.

The question of whether child sex-abuse survivors should be able to wait decades to sue their abusers or the institutions that employed them has plagued the legislature and the courts for years. Pennsylvania law gives victims until age 30 to sue for childhood sex abuse.

Asbee’s suit takes a new tack. It comes after a panel of Superior Court judges ruled that another decades-old abuse-claims case involving an accuser from the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, Renee Rice, wasn’t barred by the statute of limitations from proceeding to a jury trial.

Read more at the Philadelphia Inquirer