A Maine State Prison inmate serving a 60-year sentence for the 1986 murder of his grandfather has sued the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland for sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of two priests, dating back to the late 1970s.
Jeffrey Libby, through his attorney Verne Paradie Jr., filed the suit Thursday in Cumberland County Unified Court, alleging negligence, sexual assault and battery, invasion of privacy, clergy malpractice and more. He is seeking unspecified damages.
He named his abusers as Christian Roy, who was permanently removed from the priesthood in 2006 and now lives in Boston; and Raymond Lauzon, who died in 2005.
Libby says in the lawsuit that he was raised in a devout Catholic family and lived with his grandparents in Winslow during the time of the abuse. He met Roy at a church function in 1979 and Roy subsequently introduced Libby to Lauzon.
CLAIMS OF ABUSE
“Roy utilized (Libby’s) grandfather’s love of baseball, most particularly the Red Sox, and his influence and status as a priest to develop a relationship and gain the trust of (Libby) and (Libby’s) grandparents,” the suit alleges.
Libby claims that Roy abused him during several trips to Red Sox games at Fenway Park in Boston. He also alleges that Roy sometimes took Libby to Lauzon’s home, where Lauzon assaulted him. The abuse ended in 1981 after Libby joined the military. Roy told Libby to never talk about the abuse with anyone, according to the suit.
After Libby was imprisoned in 1986 for his grandfather’s murder, he interacted with Roy again from 1987 to 1991, while Roy was a chaplain at the prison. Libby said he suffered additional distress from those encounters.
Roy served in six parishes in Maine from 1975 to 1991. He was permanently removed from the priesthood by the Vatican in 2006 amid widespread abuse allegations against him and several other Maine priests.
Lauzon was sued multiple times in the 1990s over alleged abuse but the church always defended him. He was 80 when he died in 2005.
The lawsuit names the Roman Catholic bishop of Portland as a defendant. The suit alleges the diocese knew about prior alleged abuse by Lauzon and did not remove him from the priesthood. It also claims that the church was aware of Roy’s conduct but did nothing to protect children from him.
The current bishop, Robert Deeley, was installed in the Portland diocese in 2014.
Gerald Petruccelli, an attorney representing the bishop, had not filed a response to the suit by Thursday afternoon and did not return a call for comment.
According to previously published stories, Libby also suffered sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Connecticut in the 1970s before he moved to Maine. Libby settled with that state’s Catholic diocese in 2009 for an undisclosed amount.
He was convicted in 1986 of murdering his grandfather, Percy Libby, by drowning him in the bathtub of his home in Winslow.
Libby has served half of his 60-year sentence and has been denied requests for clemency.
While behind bars, Libby has become outspoken about prison reform and about prisoner rehabilitation. His letters to the editor and opinion pieces to local newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald, became so prolific that the Maine Department of Corrections tried to halt his writings by instituting new rules.
Amid criticism, the department eventually removed the rules that restricted prisoners from being able to communicate with the outside world.
Credit: Portland Press Herald September 16, 2016