A Delaware man filed a lawsuit last week against a priest with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, alleging the clergymember sexually assaulted him 30 years ago.
The man, who is not named in the suit, charges that Monsignor Michael Flood, who is serving as pastor of St. Luke Evangelist Parish in Glenside, assaulted him when he was a student at St. John Neumann High School in South Philadelphia, where Flood taught in the late 1970s.
According to a statement released by the Archdiocese this week, Flood denies the allegations.
Flood, 70, was ordained in 1968 and has served at nearly a dozen parishes and schools in the city and suburbs since then.
The Archdiocese has not yet launched its own investigation into the charges, as the complainant was not identified by name in the lawsuit, and also because the claims were filed in civil court.
In its statement, the Archdiocese said Flood will stay on as pastor of St. Luke’s as the suit proceeds but will voluntarily refrain from unsupervised contact with minors.
David Clohessy, national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called the Archdiocese’s decision to allow Flood to remain at St. Luke’s “extraordinarily reckless” and said it “contradicts every claim by Catholic officials that they allegedly put children’s safety first.”
“The prudent course of action is simple: Protect kids first by suspending Flood until more information becomes available,” Clohessy said. “The notion that an accused child molester will voluntarily stay away from kids is ludicrous.”
Parishioners at St. Luke’s were informed of the suit during Mass last weekend by Flood himself, who asked them to pray with him for the man who filed the suit. Flood was joined by Monsignor Arthur Rodgers, vicar for Montgomery County, who attended the services to represent Cardinal Justin Rigali.
Staff members from the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Program were also on hand.