Accusation of abuse in the 1970s

An Ohio man has accused Father Joseph E. Shannon, a priest of the Camden Diocese who was removed from ministry in 1990, with sexual abuse.

Mark Bryson, 50, alleges that Father Shannon sexually assaulted him when he was in first grade at St. Anthony of Padua School in Camden in the 1970s.

In a suit filed Jan. 27 in U.S. District Court, Bryson said he had repressed memories of the assault until recently, according to media reports.

Father Shannon, now 75, was accused by several males of abuse in the 1990s.

Bryson’s suit charges the diocese with having “fraudulently concealed” Father Shannon’s behavior. Repressed memory and fraudulent conconcealment can be used to extend the statute of limitations in civil sex abuse cases in New Jersey.

An independent, toll-free number has been established by the Diocese of Camden to help callers report cases of sexual abuse by priests, religious, employees and/or volunteers. Calls are handled by a licensed clinical social worker. In accord with state law, cases of child sexual abuse are reported to the N.J. Division of Youth and Family Services and law enforcement. For information or to inquire about counseling and support services, call 1-800-964-6588.

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