Philly clergy sex abuse survivor sues nation's Catholic bishops, the Vatican

Mark Abrams
November 14, 2018 - 3:54 pm

Calin Andrei Stan | Dreamstime.com

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia man who alleges he was sexually abused by a priest while he attended Roman Catholic High School back in 1969 has joined a class-action lawsuit against the nation's Catholic bishops and the Vatican.

During a news conference Wednesday near the bishops annual meeting in Baltimore, Phillip DiWilliams recalled the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of Father John Schmeer, a guidance counselor.

"Now think about this, in 1969 when I went to high school, Father Schmeer's nickname was 'Schmeer the queer' and the priests never removed him. The bishops never let it out. They've held it. They hold it for other priests now. So, that's what we're up against," he said.

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He says it's time to hold the church and its leaders accountable for ignoring and covering up years of abuse and the perpetrators of that abuse.

"I'm here to lend my name to this to help others, other young people that you know it's happening to today," he said.

DiWilliams brought a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia after Schmeer was named in a grand jury report on clerical sexual abuse.

The suit was dismissed in 2013 because it was filed beyond Pennsylvania's statute of limitations.

DiWilliams said he put his name as an abuse survivor on a class-action suit to help others whom he believes are victims or potential victims of predator priests still protected by bishops.