Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Charlotte Priest

J.C. had been taught that priests were to be respected and obeyed.

So when “Father Fran” told him to take off his clothes and kneel before him, the 8-year-old student at Our Lady of the Assumption Elementary School in Charlotte did what he was told, according to his new lawsuit.

That set off years of escalating sexual assaults against the boy in the church sacristy where Rev. Francis Gillespie got ready to perform the Catholic Church’s sacred rite of the Mass.

According to his complaint, J.C., now in his early 30s and still living in Charlotte, kept the abuse private because Father Fran was his friend and had ordered him to do so, calling the episodes “our secret.”

No longer.

On Thursday, J.C. filed suit — against Gillespie, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools and two Jesuit groups that assigned Gillespie to Charlotte during the 1990s.

The complaint, filed in the Mecklenburg County courts, accuses the defendants of negligence, sexual assault and battery and a host of other things.

All the defendants, according to the lawsuit, failed in their duties to protect a little boy.

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