Six men have sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine, claiming church leaders concealed allegations that a priest sexually abused children for decades.
The suits, filed in November and made public this week, accuse the diocese of covering up abuse by the Rev. James Vallely. The six men, from Maine, New Hampshire and New York City, say Vallely sexually abused them between 1958 and 1977 when they were boys.
Their lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said Tuesday that the suits claim the church "fraudulently concealed" Vallely's abuse.
The concealment claim opens the way to sue even though the statute of limitations for sexual abuse has expired.
A spokesman for the diocese said he could not comment on a pending lawsuit. A call to the diocese's lawyer was not immediately returned.