Court drops abuse suit against Indiana diocese

FORT WAYNE, IN (AP) - An Indiana Roman Catholic diocese and a priest's order have been cleared of wrongdoing in a lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was molested by a priest as a 10-year-old.

Allen Superior Judge Stanley A. Levine ruled Tuesday that the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Crosier Fathers and Brothers Province Inc. could not be held responsible for the alleged abuse in part because they were unaware it was occurring.

Steven Eckert's suit will continue against the Rev. Gerald Funcheon.

Eckert, of Indianapolis, alleges he was sexually assaulted in 1965 while he attended a Catholic Youth Organization camp at Lake Wawasee.

Funcheon could not be located for comment. A 1997 article in The Indianapolis Star said his last known whereabouts were somewhere in the Northwest.

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