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John Doe v. Knights of Columbus

John Doe v. Knights of Columbus

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Published by estannard
John Doe's lawsuit against the Knights of Columbus, claiming that he was sexually abused as a youth in Texas when he was a member of the Columbian Squires.
John Doe's lawsuit against the Knights of Columbus, claiming 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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08/24/2013

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 - 1 -UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTDISTRICT OF CONNECTICUTCASE NO.: 10-CV-1960
 
JOHN DOE NO. 1,Plaintiff,vs.KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS,Defendant.____________________________________/ 
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff, JOHN DOE NO. 1, brings this Complaint against KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, asfollows:1.
 
JOHN DOE NO. 1 is an adult male resident of the State of Kansas and is sui juris.Plaintiff has filed this lawsuit under the pseudonym John Doe No. 1 to protect his identity as victimof childhood sexual abuse and prevent further psychological harm to the Plaintiff if his name werepublicly disclosed. Plaintiff’s identity will be confidentially disclosed to the Defendant.
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.
 
 - 2 -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.6.
 
This case arises from the horrific child sexual abuse of JOHN DOE NO. 1 (hereinafter“JOHN”) 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 1978 and 1986, JOHN was groomed and sexually abused at variouslocations throughout the United States by RIVERA after JOHN became involved with theCOLUMBIAN SQUIRES.
Factual AllegationsA.
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 it 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 OF
 
 - 3 -COLUMBUS Supreme Council created and now operates a national youth program, known as theCOLUMBIAN 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 and supervised by at leastone adult KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS member.
B.
11.
 
JOHN was born in 1968. In approximately 1978, when the Plaintiff wasapproximately 10 years old, he was introduced to the COLUMBIAN SQUIRES in Brownsville,Texas, as well as its adult leader, JULIAN RIVERA. RIVERA actively solicited JOHN to join theCOLUMBIAN SQUIRES, telling JOHN and his family that as a SQUIRE, JOHN could do much tohelp people, and that his involvement in the SQUIRES would positively affect JOHN’s growth anddevelopment as a person. At RIVERA’s urging, JOHN attended COLUMBIAN SQUIRES’ meetingsand events as a guest. JOHN quickly learned that the other children considered RIVERA to be a“cool” leader because he frequently gave them alcohol and encouraged them to drink around him.
The Sexual Abuse of John Doe No. 1
 
12.
 
RIVERA often spoke with JOHN’s mother, informing her that he was very active inthe Catholic Church. He told JOHN’s mother that he thought JOHN had great potential, which couldbe tapped by becoming a SQUIRE. JOHN’s mother allowed him to join the COLUMBIANSQUIRES.13.
 
During his first two years as a member of the COLUMBIAN SQUIRES, RIVERAgave JOHN pornography on at least 10 occasions and encouraged him to view it with RIVERA.

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