Two whose dad is a Catholic priest file lawsuit
DNA testing proves cleric fathered the children
But he never admitted it or paid anything to their mom
Baltimore church officials knew of his 'misconduct,' suit says
SNAP: "Archbishop must reach out" to others who've been similarly betrayed
Carla A. Latty and Adrian Senna have filed a civil lawsuit seeking millions in damages against the Baltimore Archdiocese and a Baltimore-based Catholic religious order called St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart (410 727 3386). The reason: through DNA testing, they recently learned that their biological dad is a Catholic priest. The two never received any meaningful support – financial or otherwise – from the cleric or his supervisors. In the 1940s and 1950s, Fr. Francis E. Ryan emotionally and sexually manipulated, exploited and impregnated their mother, Anna Maria Franklin Senna, who met him while she was an organist at St. John The Baptist Catholic Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Senna gave birth to Adrian in 1945. He lived in an orphanage some and some with his mother. Carla was born in 1952 and was put up for adoption.
Ryan continued his relationship with/exploitation of Ms. Senna for years but the priest neither acknowledged his paternity of the children. The lawsuit says Catholic officials were aware of Ryan's misdeeds (or should have known) but "did not intervene or otherwise take responsibility" for the children’s well-being. On the contrary, the suit says they "actively worked to prevent (the kids') parentage from coming to light,” and concealed Ryan's misconduct ”to avoid having to compensate Ms. Senna and her children.”
The suit, which was filed in Baltimore Circuit Court and just served on the defendants, seeks $10 million in damages (1/2 punitive & 1/2 compensatory) and a jury trial.
Carla and Adrian are represented by attorneys Carmen Durso of Boston (617 728 9123) and L. Palmer Foret of Washington DC (202 332 2404). Baltimore lawyers Brian T. Tucker and Thomas Dame (410 951 1405) represents the defendants. Ryan is deceased as is Ms. Senna. Carla, now 56, is an attorney in New York City and lives in New Jersey. Adrian, now 63, is married, is a semi-retired actor/musician living in Burnaby, British Columbia.
David Clohessy (314) 566-9790, Barbara Dorris (314)503-0003, (312)455-1499
Below is the the last attempt to deal in a civil manner with the Catholic Church and the Claretian Missionary Fathers. Both the Eastern & Western Claretian Provinces have passed the buck and buried their collective heads in the sand... hoping this issue will go away. They have been unwilling to offer reparations for their lies, cover ups, deceit, and are perpetuating a culture of shame.
I hope the Provincials, their governments, legal counsels, the dioceses and Rome understand the repercussion of their actions. As with the child abuse scandal and the failed cover up... I'm sure they have NO CLUE how damaging a well planned, supported public media campaign will be....
This was a letter from Fr. Richard Detore CMF Provincial of the Western Province dated 12-12-2008
After consulting with the other members of the Provincial Government of the Western Province
and our legal counsel, we have determined that the Province is not liable for the actions of two
consenting adults when one of the parties, although a member of the Province, acted against
the policies of the Province and of religious life. The Province does not have any moral or legal
responsibility to make any type of financial payment to you and will not be doing so. In good
conscience we cannot take money that has been entrusted to us for the sake of fulfilling our
mission and pay you anything in these circumstances. Any grievance or hurt you may feel is
really the responsibility or fault of your parents, not the Claretian Missionaries .
It has also been determined that your conception took place in the Western Province, so the
Western Province alone has the authority to act on your case, any other provinces notwithstanding.
The Eastern Province may have paid some money to your half-siblings years ago, but that was
out of charity, not liability. Unfortunately, we are not now in a position financially to do the same.
I certainly realize that this decision will not please you. However, I do hope that you will be able
to address with your parents some of the emotional hurt you may have experienced growing up
and in doing so gain a greater sense of peace.
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