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James Dennany v. Knights of Columbus

James Dennany v. Knights of Columbus

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Published by estannard
James Dennany's lawsuit against the Knights of Columbus, alleging that he was sexually abused as a youth in Texas when he was a member of the Columbian Squires.
James Dennany's lawsuit against the Knights of Columbus, alleging that he was sexually abused as a youth in Texas when he was a member of the Columbian Squires.

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Published by: estannard on Mar 15, 2011
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05/02/2012

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 - 1 -UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTDISTRICT OF CONNECTICUTCASE NO.: 10-CV-1961
 
JIM DENNANY,Plaintiff,vs.KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS,Defendant.____________________________________/ 
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff, JIM DENNANY, brings this Complaint against KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, asfollows:1.
 
JIM DENNANY is an adult male resident of the State of Texas and is sui juris.
Parties, Jurisdiction and Venue
2.
 
Defendant KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS is a specially-chartered corporationorganized and existing under the laws of the State of Connecticut, with a principal place of businessat 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, Connecticut, 06519.3.
 
This is an action for damages in excess of $5 million.4.
 
This Court has jurisdiction of this action and the claims set forth herein pursuant to 28U.S.C. §1332(a), as the matter in controversy (i) exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs;and (ii) is between citizens of different states.5.
 
This Court has venue of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(a) as the Defendantis headquartered and resides in the District.
 
 - 2 -6.
 
This case arises from the horrific child sexual abuse of JIM DENNANY(hereinafter“JIM”) by JUAN “JULIAN” RIVERA (hereinafter “RIVERA”), the adult leader appointed by theKNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS to a position in its youth program, the COLUMBIAN SQUIRES, inBrownsville, Texas. Between approximately 1973 and 1977, JIM was groomed and sexually abusedat various locations throughout Texas and Mexico by RIVERA after JIM became a member of theCOLUMBIAN SQUIRES.
Factual AllegationsA.Factual Allegations
7.
 
Defendant KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS is a Catholic fraternal benefit organizationthat was created as a social network intended to provide financial assistance to its members andengage in religious and charitable works. It was at all relevant times headquartered in New Haven,Connecticut. The President of the KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS corporation is known as theSupreme Knight, and is governed by the Board of Directors, known as the Supreme Council.
The Knights of Columbus
 
8.
 
Membership in the KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS is open only to Catholic men overthe age of 18 who purportedly are committed to supporting the Roman Catholic Church through“pro-life and youth activities,” according to its website.9.
 
Defendant KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS forms, directs, and operates state and localcouncils throughout the United States to carry out its mission. Each council is a direct subordinateorganization under the direction and control of the KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS headquarters inConnecticut.10.
 
Pursuant to its mission of promoting fellowship among Catholics, the KNIGHTS OFCOLUMBUS Supreme Council created and now operates a national youth program, known as the
 
 - 3 -COLUMBIAN SQUIRES. The COLUMBIAN SQUIRES are the official youth organization of theKNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, created in 1925. The COLUMBIAN SQUIRES recruit Catholic boysbetween the ages of 10 and 18 who are committed to developing their leadership qualities andsupporting the Roman Catholic Church. A COLUMBIAN SQUIRES unit must operate within thestructure and regulations of the KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. According to the KNIGHTS OFCOLUMBUS’ regulations, each COLUMBIAN SQUIRES unit is overseen by at least one adultKNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS member.
B.
11.
 
JIM was born in 1961. In approximately 1971, when the Plaintiff was approximately10 years old, JULIAN RIVERA’s brother, Pete Rivera, began recruiting JIM to join theCOLUMBIAN SQUIRES when he was still too young to become a member. Pete Rivera persuadedJIM that the COLUMBIAN SQUIRES would be a positive experience, beneficial to his future.
The Sexual Abuse of Jim Dennany
 
12.
 
Membership in the KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS was a source of pride to JIM’sfamily, as his father and grandfather were both members, and JIM welcomed the opportunity to jointhe COLUMBIAN SQUIRES. Pete Rivera ultimately invited JIM to become a member of theCOLUMBIAN SQUIRES when JIM was 12, and he was excited to join.13.
 
RIVERA was the adult leader of the COLUMBIAN SQUIRES in Brownsville, Texas.The first time JIM met RIVERA was on a COLUMBIAN SQUIRES trip to Houston, Texas. He wasforced to share a bed with RIVERA. On this trip, RIVERA provided the children, including JIM,with alcohol and several of them became intoxicated.14.
 
In addition to alcohol, beginning when JIM was approximately 12 years old, RIVERAregularly provided JIM with pornography. As time progressed, the pornography contained moregraphic depictions of sexual activity, including male homosexual activity. This continued until JIM

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