Fort Worth

He claimed sexual abuse by Catholic leaders, but a judge wasn't convinced

Archived photo of gavel.
Archived photo of gavel.

A judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth filed by a man who said he was sexually abused while a student at a Wichita Falls Catholic school from 1990 to 1992.

Jason Montgomery filed the lawsuit in 2015, saying he was sexually abused by the late Rev. John Sutton while he was a student at Notre Dame Middle High School. Montgomery later amended his lawsuit to say that then-Principal Ron Staley also sexually abused him during that time. Montgomery's memory of the abuse returned in 2013, according to his lawyer.

Fort Worth Bishop Michael F. Olson investigated the allegations and found no evidence to support his claims, the diocese said. No other allegations of sexual misconduct have ever been made against Sutton, who died in 2004, or Staley, the diocese said.

In a statement, diocese attorney Michael D. Anderson said that without "objective evidence" to support Montgomery's claims, the claims are barred by the statute of limitations.

The suit accused Sutton of sexually abusing the boy, among other ways, by using "sex toys" as punishment for plagiarism and as a penance to God. Sutton allegedly stuffed a towel into the boy's mouth so that others couldn't hear his screams and told him that "I have the power to ruin your life."

In a statement late Wednesday, Montgomery's attorney said: "After almost three years of litigation, an enormous amount of additional evidence was uncovered in support of Mr. Montgomery’s claims in this case. Jason Montgomery, through his lawyers, filed detailed Responses and submitted voluminous evidence in response to Defendants’ various Motions to Dismiss. At the urging of the Diocese and its Bishop, the Court permanently sealed those portions of the court records containing Mr. Montgomery’s Responses and evidence."

The suit accused the diocese of "stringing the victim along" to silence him until the statute of limitations ran out.

This story includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

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