A man claiming to be the son of Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, is suing the Legion in a Connecticut court, claiming that the religious order should have known of Maciel’s propensity to abuse children.
Earlier this year José Raúl González Lara came forward claiming that the controversial founder of the Legion was his father. He said that he thought his father worked for the CIA or Shell Oil until he saw a 1997 magazine detailing Maciel’s misdeeds and recognized the pictured priest as his father.
In March 2010, the Legion issued a statement expressing its solidarity with the suffering of the González Lara family and its desire to sort through the details.
The same statement made public a letter that Fr. Carlos Skertchly, L.C., written to Raúl González Lara on January 12, 2010. In that letter, Fr. Skertchly informed Raul that his previous request for $26 million dollars to “keep quiet about the truth” was viewed as “illicit” by the Legion. “We prefer to seek and face the truth, no matter how painful it may be,” wrote Fr. Skertchly.
Raul had previously approached Fr. Jesús Quirce Andrés, L.C., rector of Anáhuac University, claiming that Fr. Maciel was his biological father and had spoken of leaving $6 million to his sons as an inheritance. Fr. Quirce Andrés said that, during his talks with Raúl, no mention was ever made of sexual abuse.
Raúl now asserts that he was sexually abused by the founder of the Legion, beginning at the age of 7. On Monday, he filed a lawsuit against the Legion of Christ and the estate of Fr. Marcial Maciel in the Superior Court of New Haven, Conn.
The lawsuit claims 12 counts of battery, negligent battery, negligence, negligent retention, and breach of Fiduciary Duty against the Legion and estate of Fr. Maciel. It also relies on the statements of other victims of Fr. Maciel’s sexual predation, as well as documents submitted to the Vatican, to prove that the Legion must have known about Maciel’s dangerous habits and affections. The lawsuit argues that such knowledge should have led the order to prevent Fr. Maciel from having contact with minor children, including Raul.
“As a result of the Legionaries’ negligent supervision of Maciel, Raul suffered severe injuries,” concludes the lawsuit, which asks for more than $15,000 in “monetary damages, punitive damanges, and all other appropriate relief.”
Fr. Maciel is known to have fathered at least one other child after his ordination. He was removed from ministry by Pope Benedict in 2006 and sent to a life of prayer and penance. He died in 2008.