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Archdiocese Sues Former Monsignor

September 16, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A former monsignor relieved of his duties amid sexual abuse and fraud allegations has been sued by the San Francisco Archdiocese, which claims he embezzled $252,000 from the church.

The lawsuit, filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court, claims former Roman Catholic Monsignor Patrick O’Shea set up legitimate church accounts, then used the money for his personal properties and debts and falsified financial reports to the church.

The diocese also is trying to ensure that a $187,000 trust fund O’Shea set up in his own name goes to the church.

O’Shea’s lawyer, Joseph O’Sullivan, says the allegations date to 1995 and a three-year statute of limitations has expired.

Attorney John Christian, representing the diocese, said Wednesday that the statute of limitations was not a concern.

``We’ve been careful in constructing our complaint,″ he said.

Charges of fraud, grand theft and falsifying tax returns are still pending against O’Shea, who was removed from his priestly duties in 1995 amid allegations he had molested boys between 1964 and 1980.

In 1995, the church agree pay $2.5 million to 15 men who said they had been molested by O’Shea and two other San Francisco-area priests.

Criminal sex abuse charges against O’Shea had been dropped because the six-year statute of limitations had expired, then refiled when a state law extended the statute for molestation.

They were dropped again when an appeals court ruled the extension unconstitutional but the California Supreme Court last month overturned the appeals court ruling. Clarence Johnson, a spokesman for San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, said Hallinan will likely refile charges against O’Shea.

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