Judge rules against Priest sex abuse survivor in Lowcountry civil suit

Crime & Safety

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WSAV) — A Savannah priest sexual abuse survivor will “not” be able to sue a South Carolina Catholic Diocese for the crimes he says happened to him 30 years ago in the Lowcountry.

Chris Templeton was abused by at least one priest in the Savannah diocese as a young man, the memory still harsh and vivid.

But he says this decision by a Lowcountry judge hurts almost as much.

District Judge David Norton granted a motion for summary judgment that dismisses Templeton’s claim and clears the Charleston Diocese of civil charges.

In 2018, former Catholic priest Wayland Brown admitted in court to abusing Templeton and Alan Ranta while they were students, and he was a priest at St James School in Savannah. Adding in court that he took the boys across the border to Hardeeville and raped them there as well.

Brown was charged and sentenced in 2018. He died in prison in 2019.

Templeton won a multi-million dollar civil settlement against the Diocese of Savannah in connection with that case.

Templeton then filed a civil suit against the Charleston diocese who he says knew about the abuse by Brown and one of their own priests, father Ray Dumouchel, and ignored it.

Templeton’s attorney even had a former priest in the Diocese testify that it was known there were a “nest of pedophiles in the diocese”

But the judge in his ruling said the Bishop did not know the risk Dumouchel posed and the clergy acted “outside the scope of their employment by molesting Templeton.”

He continued by writing the priest’s actions “cannot be attributed to the bishop.”

In a 2018 interview with WSAV, Templeton explained why talked about why he would take on the challenge of a second lawsuit.

“They say we will reach out, we’ll help them. No, they won’t we’ve given them that opportunity,” said Templeton.
“It’s the only way we will get them to step up is to file a lawsuit. I hate lawsuits as much as anyone, but that’s the only way to get their attention. Believe me, they won’t answer your phone calls until you serve them.”

In a statement to News 3, Templeton’s attorney Mark Tate says “We intend to appeal the order tendered by the judge because he has clearly misunderstood the facts and misapplied the law and we intend to pursue this matter to assure justice for my sad client Chris Templeton.”

News 3 reached out to the Diocese of Charleston for comment. We have not heard back.

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