Bankrupt Diocese Asks to Pay Accused Abuser

Delaware diocese wants to financially support defrocked priest

A defrocked Catholic priest, who is accused of sexually abusing boys in 20 lawsuits, is now 80 years old and has little money to live on.

The bankrupt Catholic Diocese of Delaware is petitioning a judge to allow it to give the former priest benefit payments. The diocese is calling it a “corporal work of mercy,” reports the News Journal.

Former Delaware priest Francis DeLuca admitted to molesting countless boys in his home, after bingo games, on a trip to Italy, from 1962 to 1993, according to court documents of his April 2009 deposition. He said the boys “liked it,” reports the New Journal.

Stripped from the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI a year ago, DeLuca is now elderly and living on $415 a month from Social Security as his $10,000 in savings is quickly drained.

So the diocese, which filed for bankruptcy in October, is seeking to pay DeLuca and five other former priests accused of sexual abuse a combined $10,000 a month in benefits. DeLuca would get $548 a month.

"Corporal works of mercy such as the provision of charity to Mr. DeLuca are fundamental to the Christian faith, and there is no 'bad person' exception to Catholic charity," the diocese contends, according to the News Journal.

The victims of DeLuca’s abuse and others are asking the judge to refuse the diocese’s request.

"Of all the people who are deserving of diocesan charity, why are these people worthy to be put at the head of the line when there's been no progress in addressing the victim claim issues?" said James Holman, an abuse victim and co-chairman of the creditors committee in the bankruptcy case.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi must make the decision. He scheduled a two-day hearing on the matter for February, reports the News Journal.

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