Priest sued for sexual abuse served this summer at Washington church

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 1:55 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WITN) - A Catholic priest who served this past summer in Washington has been named in a sexual abuse lawsuit.

Father Francis Gillespie, a Jesuit priest, filled in at Mother of Mercy Church from June to August.

The Diocese of Charlotte was also named in the lawsuit that was filed under the Safe Child Act.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, says the abuse involved an 8-year-old altar boy at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Charlotte.

The organization says it happened over a four-year period while the victim also attended the parish school.

Attorney Richard Serbin said the “plaintiff kept the abuse to himself initially because of Gillespie’s warning and feelings of helplessness and thereafter due to ongoing feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment.”

Gillespie served churches in both the Charlotte and Raleigh dioceses and was removed from ministry in September.

The diocese notified Charlotte police this summer of the allegations.

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