A Philadelphia man who alleges Monsignor Joseph Kelly sexually abused him at St. Michael’s School for Boys filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Scranton.

The suit, filed in Lackawanna County Court on behalf of Aaron Thomas, accuses Kelly of repeatedly forcing Thomas to engage in various sexual acts starting in 1975, when he was a 15-year-old student at the Falls Twp. facility.

The Citizens’ Voice does not ordinarily identify victims of sexual assault, but Thomas asked to be identified.

The lawsuit is the second suit to accuse Kelly. Another man, whose identity has not been released, filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia County Court, alleging Kelly and two other men sexually abused him at St Michaels’ in the mid 1970s.

The Diocese of Scranton in October added Kelly to its list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children based on allegations made by seven men, four of which the diocese deemed credible.

Kelly adamantly denies the claims and has accused the diocese of conducting a flawed investigation.

Regarding Thomas, Kelly’s attorney, Andrew Hailstone, previously said Thomas’ allegations were reviewed by the diocese and the Wyoming County District Attorney’s Office in 2014 and were deemed not credible in part because Thomas described his abuser as a priest in his 60s. Kelly was in his 30s when he served at the school.

Thomas’ claims also were deemed not credible by administrators of a fund set up to compensate victims of sexual abuse.

Contacted Friday, Kelly again denied he abused Thomas or anyone else.

“I guess he is filing the lawsuit because he was deemed not credible by the compensation fund,” Kelly said of Thomas.

Kelly also said he’s continuing to fight to get his name removed from the credibly accused list.

“I hired a cannon lawyer who has been in touch with the diocese,” he said. “There is a process ... I know it will take a great deal of time. These are all false accusations.”

Thomas’ lawsuit was initially filed in August by attorney Alan Perer of Pittsburgh via a writ of summons, a document that notifies a defendant a lawsuit is pending, but does not contain specific allegations. That information is contained in a complaint, which was filed in county court on Thursday.

The lawsuit, which does not name Kelly as a defendant, alleges Kelly frequently abused Thomas at several locations, including his office at the school. It claims diocesan officials knew Kelly and other priests were sexually abusing minors, but rather than halt it they moved the priests from church to church to avoid liability.

The suit names as defendants the diocese, Bishop Joseph Bambera and retired bishop James Timlin. It seeks damages for two counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy.

Contact the writer:

tbesecker@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9137

@tmbeseckerTT

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