Defrocked monsignor sues in NYC sex abuse scandal

September 19, 2012 - 7:35 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A defrocked Roman Catholic monsignor who once led fundraising for the Archdiocese of New York has sued the church for libel.

Charles Kavanagh's lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan. Kavanagh accuses the archdiocese of libeling him by saying he had sexually abused a teenage student in the 1980s even though the now-middle-aged man admits he lied.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

The church defrocked the 74-year-old Kavanagh in 2010, eight years after the accuser claimed the clergyman touched him inappropriately during a trip to Washington D.C.

Kavanagh was the archdiocese's vicar of development in the 1990s.

Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling says lawyers haven't yet reviewed the lawsuit, but he stands by his May statement that the church didn't base its decision on the Washington trip.