The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

December 27, 2013

Settlement reached in Evansville Diocese rape suit

Confidential settlement includes Catholic Community of Washington

A settlement was reached in the 2010 case of a Hispanic woman against the Evansville Catholic Diocese and others.

A confidential settlement agreement was reached in the case where Silvia Gameros alleged the diocese, employees and the Catholic Community of Washington asked her to cover up the rape of her developmentally disabled daughter in 2007.

The agreement, filed earlier this month in Daviess Circuit Court, was signed between Gameros and the diocese was confidential and claims against the diocese, the Catholic Community of Washington and employees Sister Karen Durliat, Kande Batz and Jorge Gomez were dismissed.

A default judgment was issued on Fredy Mendez-Morales, the man who pled guilty to raping Gameros' daughter during an abstinence retreat at the former St. Mary's School on Nov. 4, 2007. Mendez-Morales was ordered to pay over $1 million to Gameros and her daughter in the case, based on emotional and physical pain and suffering.

Mendez-Morales pled guilty to a rape charge in 2009 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Officials with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Mendez-Morales was then deported back to his native El Salvador in 2010 after a temporary visa expired.

The judgment said attempts were made to contact Mendez-Morales but were unsuccessful.

Gameros alleged in her original lawsuit the church tried to cover up the rape of her daughter during the retreat. During the retreat, Mendez-Morales and the girl had sex in a bathroom at the former Catholic school while others were asleep.

In the morning, Gameros was then, according to court documents, contacted by Batz and Durilat and asked to come to the school. They told her of the encounter. Gamerors alleged in her complaint the conversation included a church official suggesting the daughter take a "morning-after pill." The left and went to Jasper Memorial Hospital where a nurse called the Indiana State Police after evidence of a rape was found.

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