Sexual abuse case against local church gets dismissed
PADUCAH — A judge dismissed the case involving a local church and the alleged abuse of two former Boy Scouts.
In February 2011, 49-year-old Joseph Andrecht filed a lawsuit saying his former scoutmaster, Danny Middleton, sexually abused him. Andrecht said the abuse happened in the late 1970s.
He brought suit against the Boy Scouts of America, the Shawnee Trails Council, Grace Episcopal Church in Paducah and the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, claiming they never did anything about the allegations.
After the initial suit, another man, Timothy Vasseur, stepped forward with similar allegations.
But on Monday, Judge Tim Kaltenbach dismissed the case, citing statute of limitations, meaning too much time had passed since the alleged abuse.
"The church is relieved with regard to the liability but it's certainly not a situation where the church is gloating or anything like that," said Eddie Jones, the attorney for the Episcopal Church. "This was a fair and just result given the facts and the law in this case."
The plaintiffs' attorney said they're disappointed in the ruling, saying the statute of limitations shouldn't count in sexual abuse cases.
"People can come out many many years later and in fact, I would say that the majority of people who have been sexually abused will take that secret to their grave," said Vasseur and Andrecht's lawyer Paul Mones.
This dismissal has nothing to do with whether there was a relationship between the two Boy Scouts and their scoutmaster.
"I don't think there is doubt in this case based upon the evidence we have," said Mones.
Meanwhile, Jones said, "The missing link here is nobody told the church. The church found out in 1979 at that point, almost immediatly within days, Mr. Middleton was asked to not participate in Boy Scouts anymore."
The plaintiffs have 30 days to file their appeal.
The church said they still remain supporters of the Boy Scout troop 1 in Paducah.