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Carl Monday: Catholic Church scandal

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MADISON TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) -

More than a decade has passed since the priest sex scandal broke in the Catholic Church.  But one woman says her story of abuse has never been told.  Until now.

19 Action News Chief Investigator Carl Monday has uncovered an alleged rape from thirty two years ago and examined why nothing was ever done to bring the case to justice.

George Bailey walked away from the priesthood 24 years ago, with no regrets.  "I'm living a happy life," he told Monday.  "I feel one with God and I'm happier than I've ever been."

The same can't be said for a woman we call Margaret, who says a long ago encounter with Bailey changed her life forever. 

Margaret says she was only 14 when her, her sister and a friend waited for confession at Immaculate Conception Church in Madison.  She says Father Bailey, Associate Pastor at the time, called her alone into a room in a building behind the church.  It was there that she claims Bailey locked the door and asked her if she "felt God."  Within moments she says the priest performed an un-Godly act, "French-kissing" her...before lifting up his robe and raping her.

When asked about the allegations, Bailey said "I don't know where you got the information, but I know it's not true."  The allegations can be found in a police report filed with Madison Township police, after the Catholic Diocese alerted Lake County Children Services.  That was in 2009, 29 years after the alleged incident.

Monday talked to Madison Detective James Dooley, was took the 2009 report.  When asked why nothing was pursed back in 1980, Dooley responded "That's a very good question.  I'd like to answer that one myself."  Dooley did take the allegations to the city prosecutor I 2009, but by then the statute of limitations had expired.  If a report had been filed back in 1980, it has since been destroyed.

Margaret's dad told us, in 1980,  he brought the allegations to a fellow usher at the church, Pat Walsh.  At the time, Walsh happened to be Madison's Chief of Police.  "Pat Walsh said he'd take care of it, but that was the last I heard about it,"  says the Dad.

But Walsh, long retired, says he has no recollection of the case, although he remembers rumors about Father Bailey at the time.  But were they just rumors?

When the scandal broke wide open in the early ‘90's, the Cleveland Diocese released a list that included priests who had already left the active ministry, because of past allegations of abuse of minors.  That list included the name of George Bailey.  Bailey wouldn't comment on the that, saying the priests were told "not to talk."

According to the watchdog group, Bishopaccountability.org, Bailey was accused of sexually abusing at least ten elementary school students in Akron and Bedford in the ‘60's and ‘70's.  After Margaret claims he raped her, Bailey went on to become pastor of Xavier Parish in Medina.

"I think the man needs to pay for the crimes that he did against me, 32 years ago," says Margaret.

But in the eyes of the law....and former Father Bailey, the case is closed.

"It's over and its past history, Bailey told Monday.  "I'm living the retired good life."  When told it's not history for the alleged victims, Bailey declared, "I'm not a lawyer, so lets let it be like that."

Bailey flashed a nervous smile, then walked away.

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