Knoxville Diocese Settles Lawsuit With Woman Who Says Priest Groped Her

The Catholic Diocese of Knoxville has settled a lawsuit with a woman who accused a former Gatlinburg priest of sexual abuse and the diocese of trying to intimidate her after she reported the incident, a May 3 court filing shows.

The settlement in the federal civil lawsuit against the diocese and the Rev. Antony Devassey Punnackal follows a Sevier County jury clearing Punnackal of sexual battery charges in November.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The woman’s attorney, Andrew Fels with the nonprofit Al Otro Lado, and Punnackal’s attorney, Travis McCarter, declined to comment. Diocese spokesperson Jim Wogan said the church was satisfied with the result.

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