Former Mesa priest named in lawsuit against Phoenix Diocese - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Former Mesa priest named in lawsuit against Phoenix Diocese

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Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 4:17 pm

 A man who says his son's death was a result of being abused by a priest is suing the Diocese of Phoenix.

The Arizona Republic ( reports that David Michael Pain Sr. filed a wrongful death lawsuit this week, two years after he shot his son in self-defense.

In addition to the diocese, the Rev. John "Jack" Spaulding, former pastor of St. Timothy's Catholic Community in Mesa, and former Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien are named in the suit.

Pain is asking for monetary damages for grief and distress.

"I don't want to profit from my son's death," Pain, who goes by Michael, said. "Any money I would get I would donate to an organization like Crossroads," which provides rehabilitation services and housing for people addicted to drugs or alcohol.

His attorney, Bedford Douglass Jr., said Friday that David Michael Pain Jr. had developed post-traumatic stress disorder from being abused at the age of 13. Douglass said the younger Pain went through periods of rage and depression as well as attempting suicide as an adult.

"When he broke into his father's house in June two years ago, he was simply exhibiting the characteristic behavior of someone who had experienced what he experienced at age 13," Douglass said. "His death was therefore a consequence of the molestation — even though ironically and tragically, it came at the hand of his own father, which ...makes it all the worse."

According to police, 39-year-old David Pain broke into his father's Scottsdale home in June 2010, and the elder Pain shot him in self-defense. David Pain did not go to a hospital and was found dead later. Authorities said he had methamphetamine and cocaine in his system.

Michael Pain has accused Spaulding of abusing his son. He first told the Phoenix Diocese about the abuse claims weeks after his son's death.

Philip Seplow, Spaulding's attorney, said Friday that his client continues to deny ever sexually abusing Pain and is saddened by the lawsuit.

"He feels that he never treated Mr. Pain or his son with anything but respect and love," Seplow said.

Spaulding, who has been a pastor at several Phoenix-area parishes, was suspended in June 2011, after a diocese investigation found allegations from Pain and three other victims were credible. The Vatican has not made a decision yet on Spaulding's future.

Douglass said Michael Pain was reluctant to file the lawsuit, but the Catholic church has not responded to any of his inquiries in the last several months. The diocese refused an earlier request by Pain for reimbursement for his son's rehabilitation. They did, however, inter David Pain's cremated remains in a Catholic cemetery in a ceremony last December.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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