Catholic church in Phoenix sued over alleged rape by youth leader

Dec. 26, 2013 at 1:35 PM

PHOENIX, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A young Arizona woman says a Catholic youth leader failed to keep his promise that he would refrain from future assaults if she did not report him for rape.

Maraen Foley filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County against her alleged rapist, Brandon Eckerson, the diocese of Phoenix and several church officials, including Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Courthouse News Service reported Thursday.

In court papers, Foley said Eckerson raped her two days before Christmas last year when she was 18. She said Eckerson had earlier had a pattern of inappropriate behavior both with the group she was in at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Scottsdale and with her individually.

"Through manipulation, lies and deceit, Brandon Eckerson convinced plaintiff not to say anything further to anyone about his sexual exploitation of her; in exchange he promised to never again sexually assault anyone," she said. "It was understood that if plaintiff discovered he violated this sworn promise she would go to the police."

Foley said one of her friends told her in May that Eckerson had raped her. She then went to police and he was arrested in July.

The church did not fire him until his arrest, she said, even though her doctor had reported to the church that she said she was raped.

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