Lawsuit Filed by Former Altar Boys Claims Sexual Abuse

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(NECN: Kathryn Sotnik) - A lawsuit has been filed by two former altar boys of a Catholic Church in Massachusetts.

That suit alleges former Fall River Bishop Daniel Cronin did nothing to stop the alleged sexual abuse by the late Monsignor Maurice Souza.

Souza, according to court documents, is accused of abusing the boys for years in the 1970's, beginning when they were 9 and 10 years old.

The documents also say that abuse continued until the boys were in their late teens, when Souza eventually ended up at St. Anthony's Church in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

The men, who are in now in their late 40s, don't want their names public.

However, on Tuesday, the New Jersey-based group Road to Recovery, a support group for survivors of sexual assault, held signs in support of them.

"The trauma when you come forward is very raw, very fresh," Kevin Waldrip said.

Souza died back in 1996, and the now-retired Cronin became Archbishop of Hartford.

Fall River diocese spokesperson John Kearns says the lawsuit is "old" and that the diocese was in mediation talks with the men until March of 2013.

The diocese also says these are the only allegations they've received against Souza, and that they offered counseling to the men when they initially came forward.

The lawsuit was filed back in January by Boston-based attorney Mitchell Garabedian.

As for why it's now just becoming public, Road to Recovery representatives say the "victims are now ready to have this lawsuit become public."

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