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Bishop sued for defamation

By TOM KANE

SCRANTON, PA — Jeffrey Bond, a persistent critic of Scranton Roman Catholic Bishop James Timlin, is after Timlin again.

Last year, Bond and his supporters picketed the bishop’s Sunday Mass a few weeks ago with signs calling for the bishop’s resignation.

Now, Bond has taken the bishop to court for defamation of character.

Bond is adding this suit to two previous ones against the bishop and the Society of St. John, a group of priests living in Shohola, PA. Bond, a former employee of the society, contends that three years ago he discovered that two of the priests of the society were sexually molesting youths who were under their charge and were mismanaging the finances of the society.

When Bond took his charges to the bishop, the priests were removed from active duty while an investigation was to be conducted. The investigation was never completed and the criminal case was dismissed a few months ago under the statute of limitations.

Besides the bishop and the society, Bond is suing 16 members of a group called Friends of the Society of St. John and the headmaster of St. Gregory’s Academy, where some misconduct was allegedly committed.

Through the current suit, Bond is seeking at least $50,000 from Timlin and another $250,000 from others affiliated with the society.

A civil case against the priests by the parents of the alleged victim is still pending.

Bond was originally hired by the society to be president of the College of St. Justin, an integral part of the society’s plan for development along Route 434 in Shohola. Bond claims the society raised money in the name of the college but that he saw none of it. The college was not yet a separate entity from the society. When Bond asked the bishop to allow him to separate from the society and found the college on his own, the bishop reneged.

Bond claims in his suit that Timlin has repeatedly said that Bond began his criticism only after Timlin refused to allow him to set up the Catholic college apart from the society, a fact Bond claims is false.

The suit points to a column by Timlin that appeared in The Scranton Times that read “not one word of the complaint about the conduct of the priests of the society ever came to me all the while Dr. Bond taught for them.”

The suit says that this statement and similar ones issued by the bishop has greatly injured Bond’s good name and reputation

Bishop Timlin said he could not comment on the suit on the advice of his attorney.



 
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