No liability for Grand Rapids diocese in abuse case

Associated Press

Grand Rapids – The Michigan appeals court says the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese isn’t liable for a sexual relationship between a high school tutor and a student.

The appeals court affirmed a decision to dismiss a lawsuit against the diocese. The court says church and school officials had no knowledge of sex between Abigail Simon and a teen boy in 2013.

The 38-year-old Simon was sentenced to at least eight years in prison for criminal sexual conduct. She’s eligible for parole in 2022.

The appeals court says there’s evidence that officials were concerned about Simon’s “personal space and classroom management issues.” But the court says those can’t be considered an “inevitable prelude” to sexual abuse.

Simon acknowledged having sex with a Catholic Central High School student, but she claimed that he had coerced her. A prosecutor called it “garbage.”