Lawsuit Against Legion of Christ Can Move Forward

Jan 23, 2014

A federal magistrate judge is allowing a lawsuit to move forward against a disgraced Roman Catholic order which has its U.S. headquarters in Connecticut.

When retired Yale University professor James Boa-Teh Chu died in 2009, he left much of his estate, over $1 million, to the Legion of Christ, also known as the Legionaries of Christ. But Chu's only son, Paul, filed a lawsuit against the Catholic order, accusing them of coercing and deceiving his father into turning over his assets.

Paul Chu said his father went into mental and physical decline in his final years, and was convinced by members of the Legion of Christ that their leader, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, was in line for sainthood. In fact, Maciel was under investigation by the Vatican for sexually abusing at least nine boys, for drug abuse, and for allegedly fathering six children. Maciel was removed from active ministry by Pope Benedict in 2006, and died two years later.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Providence, seeks more than $1 million for defrauding Chu, plus $10 million in punitive damages. The Legion asked that the lawsuit be thrown out, but U.S. magistrate judge Patricia Sullivan last week recommended it move forward. A district court judge will have final say. The Legion of Christ has their U.S. headquarters in Cheshire.