Horowitz Law Files New Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against Diocese of Portland in Maine

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2023 | Firm News


On the heels of a landmark court ruling that opens Maine’s courthouse doors to survivors of childhood sexual abuse,Horowitz Law and its Maine partner firm, Berman & Simmons, have filed a civil complaint against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland (Maine) seeking damages for childhood sexual abuse.

According to the Complaint, John SB Doe was sexually abused by his parish priest, Rev. Angelo LeVasseur, on one occasion in approximately July 1991.  LeVasseur is alleged to have taken the boy to Quebec province, where LeVasseur had been invited to celebrate mass on the Feast Day of St. Anne.  LeVasseur arranged a hotel room, where LeVasseur is alleged to have used his title, used the corporate money of the Maine Diocese for travel, food and accommodations for this religious-based event, referred to God’s plans and prayer, plied the boy with alcohol, and then engaged him in sexual contact.  Upon returning to Maine, LeVasseur threatened the boy to keep him silent for decades.

John SB Doe knew LeVasseur from St. Luce Roman Catholic Church in Frenchville, Maine.  LeVasseur also ran the Diocese’s Christian Life Center in Frenchville, hosting religious retreats for youth like John SB Doe.

“I filed this suit against the Diocese of Portland because it is time for me to hold the Church accountable for what happened to me as a child,” John SB Doe said. “It has affected every aspect of my life, and the lives of my family members.  I never wanted to have to take this step, but when the Diocese failed to treat me with the compassion that I needed when I first came forward, I was left with no choice.  I can only hope that anyone else who may have been hurt by this man will feel safe coming forward now.”

This is believed to be the first time that LeVasseur has been publicly accused of sexually abusing a child.  The Plaintiff first reported his abuse to the Diocese in approximately 2017, and its agent told the Plaintiff that his claim was time-barred.

“It is critical that survivors of childhood abuse in Maine can sue those responsible for their abuse, even years later,” said Horowitz Law attorney Jessica Arbour who is co-counsel representing John Doe in this case. “Today, for the first time, Father LeVasseur is being named publicly as an accused priest. Now, thanks to this lawsuit, the public will know John Doe’s truth.

LeVasseur was assigned to across Maine during his tenure with the Diocese:

  • Andre (Biddeford, ME)
  • Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME)
  • Bates College (Lewiston, ME)
  • Charles Borromeo (Brunswick, ME)
  • Katherine Drexel (South Harpswell, ME)
  • Luce (Frenchville, ME)
  • Christian Life Center (Frenchville, ME)
  • Our Lady of the Rosary (Sabattus, ME)
  • Francis Mission (Greene, ME)
  • Holy Savior (Rumford/Mexico/Dixfield/Bethel/Roxbury Pond, ME)

In 2000, LeVasseur replaced Rev. John Harris as pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary after Harris was suspended by the Diocese following his role in the use and development of a pornographic website for priests.

This is believed to be the fourteenth lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Portland alleging child sexual abuse since Maine lawmakers removed the statute of limitations for such suits in 2021.  In November 2022, the Diocese of Portland asked the court to dismiss all of the pending cases on the grounds that the new law violates Maine’s Constitution.  On Tuesday, February 14, a Maine judge denied the Diocese’s request in an 8-page opinion entered in another Horowitz Law case filed on behalf of Ann Allen, who alleges she was sexually abused by Fr. Lawrence Sabatino as a young child.

John SB Doe is now 45 years old.  He still resides in Aroostook County with his family.

Father LeVasseur was ordained in 1983.  He died in 2009.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Portland in Maine. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maine, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Portland now have legal options, but filing deadlines may apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Maine and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at 844-291-9022 to discuss your options today.