PORTLAND, Maine — An Aroostook County resident has filed a civil lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland claiming they were sexually abused by a priest.
The plaintiff identified themselves as a John Doe.
Representing them are Micheal Bigos of Berman and Simmons and Jessica Arbour of Horowitz Law who made the announcement on Doe's behalf on a Zoom call Thursday afternoon.
Lawyers announced the center of the case was Angelo LeVasseur, who was pastor at Saint Luce Parish in Frenchville for nine years. During his time as a priest, he'd been assigned to 10 different parishes in Maine, dying in 2009.
Doe claimed LeVasseur brought him on a trip in July of 1991 or 1992 to Quebec paid for by the diocese.
Doe, who was in his mid-teens at the time, claimed he and LeVasseur were in a hotel room when LeVasseur gave him alcohol and engaged in unwanted sexual advances.
Doe also said LeVasseur then threatened him to keep him from telling anyone, with fear of losing respect in the community as their family was close with LeVasseur.
This is the first lawsuit filed against the diocese since a Superior Court judge ruled that other such civil lawsuits can move forward, even if the accused abuser is deceased.
"It doesn't have to be an attorney, it can be a therapist, it can be law enforcement, or just be a close family friend or anyone that can support you," Arbour said.
"But it is very important to our client that we are here today announcing the filing of this lawsuit in part so that anyone out there that is hurting and suffering in silence and secrecy and shame know that it's okay to come forward."
A total of 13 other individuals have already filed a class action suit against the diocese, which told us today that it doesn't comment on pending or possible litigation.