Civil suit alleges Catholic priest sexual assault
A central Pennsylvania woman has filed a civil lawsuit alleging that a Catholic priest sexually abused her last spring at a Bucks County church.
The 15-page document, filed Wednesday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, alleges that Father Mareck Lacki raped the woman inside The National Shrine of Our Lady Czestochowa in Doylestown on March 26, 2012.
"She was specifically invited to come by herself. She spent three days at a shrine for personal counseling and what happened is that she was sexually assaulted by this priest," Attorney Marci Hamilton, who is representing the woman and her husband, said Wednesday during an afternoon press conference.
Lacky allegedly befriended the couple during a religious retreat.
Neither the husband or wife are indentified by name in the suit.
The suit also claims that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the shrine, and the Pauline Fathers that run it did not stop Lackey from returning to Poland after the woman reported the abuse.
"If the Archdiocese is the gold standard that they say they are--for protection against sexual assault--they are failing miserably," said Hamilton. "She was assaulted because they weren't requiring orders in all parishes to have the kind of policies that would have protected her in the first place."
Hamilton added that the Bucks County District Attorney's Office did not properly investigate the case when the Archdiocese handed it over.
Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler denied those claims, saying his office did not find the woman's allegations credible.
"Ultimately, we determined that there was not a proper basis for prosecution," said Heckler, who described the facts outlined in the suit as "sketchy."
The woman and her husband are seeking damages of more than $50,000.
A spokesperson with the Archdiocese declined comment. A message left with the shrine was not immediately returned.