Man claims abuse by late San Angelo priest

December 31, 2009 2:08:30 PM PST
A man filed a lawsuit against the San Angelo Diocese and bishop claiming he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest who hanged himself in 2003. The lawsuit filed Dec. 17 in district court seeks unspecified damages against the diocese and Bishop Michael Pfeifer. The unnamed plaintiff says he was abused by Father David Espitia from 1994 until 2002, beginning when he was 8.

The San Angelo Standard-Times reports that the diocese and bishop denied all allegations in a statement Wednesday. Pfeifer says Espitia told him days before his death that he had been accused of sexual abuse of a child and "totally denied these accusations."

Pfeifer says these are the same allegations made six years ago, which the diocese strongly denied then. He says no similar accusations have been brought by any other source.