DENVER (KDVR) — A lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Denver alleges years of abuse by a Catholic priest.
These claims of abuse allege it happened at church, at Sunday school and even out in the open. That’s according to an attorney representing the Denver-area woman who filed the suit.
The Archdiocese said the priest in question, Marshall Gourley, is not even part of their order, just another point of contention between both sides in this case.
“The Archdiocese was aware, at the time, that the abuse was occurring,” Paul Linnenburger, who represents the woman who filed the lawsuit, said.
“It was not unusual for there to be instances of abuse connected thereto, in hallways, in private rooms, sometimes out in the open,” Linnenburger said.
The claims of sexual abuse happened, according to Linnenburger, during the mid-1980s at a Catholic church in the city.
“There was roughly a four-year period from about the time she was 7 years old to about the time she was 11 years old,” Linnenburger said.
His client attended Sunday school, Linnenburger said, and was part of a family of devout members of their parish.
“Once she became separated from the Catholic church it really became a situation where she essentially lost family,” Linnenburger said.
Colorado law allows window to sue over decades-old sex abuse
For its part, the Archdiocese of Denver said it is aware of the lawsuit and does not comment on pending litigation. Further into their statement to FOX31, the Archdiocese said:
“Fr. Marshall Gourley has never been a priest of the Archdiocese of Denver. The supervision of religious order priests like Father Gourley is the responsibility of the religious order.”
“I am not surprised that they would try to disown a religious order priest that had operated within their borders,” Linnenburger said.
State law allows anyone who claims abuse that happened before Jan. 1, 2022, until the end of the year 2023 to file a claim. After that, all cases will fall out of the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit.