Saturday, January 29, 2011

Louisville couple claims retaliation from former church

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- A Louisville couple says they've been the victims of retaliation just days after filing a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Gary and Margie Weiter say they've been banned from helping their church after they complained the parish was hiding a priest accused of sexual abuse.

"It was horrible. It was horrible. He cried all night. Some people don't understand it but we've devoted our life to the church, to those people," said Gary and Margie Weiter, plaintiffs.

Gary and Margie Weiter claim they were fired from volunteering at St. Therese Church where Gary has run bingo for years.

Both said they received a hand-delivered letter Friday from Father Tony Olges.

"He said you are no longer allowed to volunteer or run the bingo at St. Therese," said Gary Weiter.

"I just want to know why? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? To hurt the people of the parish I just don't know why?" asked Margie Weiter.

"I've never seen retaliation like this, as long as I've been practicing law and that's been over 30 years," said Mikell Grafton, attorney.

Attorney Grafton represents the couple.

The notice came just one day after the couple sued the Archdiocese of Louisville and Father Olges, accusing them of hiding Father James Schook, a priest accused of sexual abuse, who had been removed from his previous parish.

The lawsuit claims Margie was fired from her bookkeeping job at the church after complaining that Schook was allowed to live in St. Therese's rectory, and was often left unsupervised.

The Weiters became uncomfortable with Schook's presence because Gary had been a victim of priest abuse in 1960s.

"Why was our church chosen to harbor out a sex abuser? I don't understand and no one has given me an answer," said Gary Weiter.

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