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Father sues priest, dioceses in abuse

Published Jul. 31, 1996|Updated Sep. 16, 2005

The father of a boy who said he was sexually abused by a priest in Hernando County has filed a lawsuit against the man he accused and the Episcopal dioceses of Southwest Florida and Texas.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Hernando Circuit Court, echoes allegations made to authorities in 1992, when the boy was 13 years old. The lawsuit lists the father as John Doe Sr. and his son as John Doe Jr. to protect their identities.

The lawsuit names the Rev. Hampton Mabry, who was filling in at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Spring Hill when the boy said the incident occurred. The civil suit, which alleges battery, negligence and outrageous conduct, seeks an undisclosed amount of money.

Mabry, 52, now chaplain for the Hospice of Galveston County in Texas, told a reporter Monday, "I don't care to talk to you," and hung up the telephone. An official from the Episcopal diocese in St. Petersburg said he was unfamiliar with the case.

Mabry pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of battery in February 1993 and was sentenced to one year of probation in connection with the alleged incident. Originally, Mabry had been charged with sexual battery and committing lewd and lascivious acts. Amended information filed with the plea agreement said Mabry touched the victim without his permission.

The boy had told sheriff's deputies that the incident occurred at a residence. The boy and his guardian had gone to swim and play cards with Mabry, who was visiting from the Houston area.

After the youth emerged from the pool, Mabry, who was nude, cornered the boy in a bathroom and performed oral sex on him, the boy told authorities. The boy struggled, and his guardian walked in and struck Mabry, according to sheriff's reports.

Because of the incident, the lawsuit said, the boy has tried to commit suicide and has suffered severe depression, emotional distress, eating difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems.

After the allegations were made, the Episcopal diocese of Southwest Florida tried to "harass and defame the plaintiff, John Doe Sr., in an effort to drive him from the diocese and to force him to keep silent about the activities alleged earlier in this complaint," the lawsuit says.

Edward Campbell, the West Palm Beach attorney who represents the boy and his father, did not return telephone calls Monday. The father could not be reached for comment.


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