Lawsuits: Portland, Maine, diocese hid sex abuse by priest

YE 2015 Latin America Photo Gallery
FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2015, file photo, Fernando Karadima is escorted from a court, after testifying in a case that three of his victims brought against the country's Catholic Church in Santiago, Chile. The Vatican ordered Karadima to life of penance and prayer in 2011 for abusing three young boys. A local judge determined the abuse allegations were truthful but absolved Karadima because the time limit had expired for prosecution. The three victims who filed the suit accuse the Chilean Catholic church of a cover up. The church has rejected the accusation. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Six men have sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine, claiming church leaders concealed allegations that a priest sexually abused children for decades.

The suits were filed in November by men from Maine, New Hampshire and New York and were made public this week. They accuse the diocese of covering up abuse by the Rev. James Vallely. The men say Vallely sexually abused them as children from 1958 to 1977.

Their lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said Tuesday that the suits claim the church “fraudulently concealed” Vallely’s abuse.

The concealment claim opens the way to sue even though the statute of limitations for sexual abuse has expired.

A diocesan spokesman couldn’t comment on a pending lawsuit. The diocese’s lawyer got the complaint Tuesday and couldn’t immediately comment.

Vallely died in 1997. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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