The Irish order that harbored notorious pedophile Father Brendan Smyth is to be sued in an American court.
The Norbertine order based in County Cavan is facing a multi million dollar suit by attorney Helem McGonigle and her neighbor Jeff Thomas both of whom were molested by Smyth when he was sent to Rhode Island in the 1960s after allegations against him elsewhere surfaced.
Also named in the multimillion dollar suit is the Diocese of Rhode Island.
An attempt by the defendants to dismiss the suit was bloked by Judge Netti Vogle of the Rhode island Superior Court who ruled that the statue of limitations had not been breached as the defendants claimed.
The judge ordered that an evidentiary hearing be heled.
McGonigle, whose sister and brother were also abused told the Sunday Tribune newspaper that the lawsuit was not about money.
"This is not about money. My sister's death, as a result of Smyth, had a dramatic impact on my life. This case is about truth, justice and forcing the church to do the right thing. Every step of the way the church has fought all of these legal cases. The church is attempting to defend an admitted and convicted paedophile."
Jeff Thomas says he was just seven years old in 1968 when Smyth began to abuse him in Rhode Island. Helen McGonigle was six years old when she was abused by the notorious pedophile in 1967. The abuse continued for three years.
"This hearing will be a mini-trial of sorts. Myself and Jeff will be required to testify about our experiences with Smyth," McGonigle said.
McGonigle's familywere parishioners at of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic church in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, where they first met Smyth.He became on very friendly terms with the family and abused not just Helen but her older sister Kathleen and brother Gerard.Kathleen and Gerard both died from drug overdoses as a result of the abuse.
In 1997, Smyth died in prison n Ireland. It is believed the number of his victims goes into the hundreds.
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