Diocese: We can’t be held accountable for accused priest

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The case of a man who says the Diocese of Burlington failed to protect him from being molested by a priest 30 years ago was back in court yesterday.

Five months ago a judge declared a mistrial in the case of James Turner, the Virginia Beach, Virginia, man who says the diocese should be held accountable for the actions of now-defrocked Reverend Alfred Willis.

Willis was originally named in Turner’s suit but settled out of court. Willis is not on trial.

Turner’s lawyer told jurors there was a pattern by the diocese of protecting pedophile priests and covering up their crimes out of concern for church liability.

Turner says Willis molested him in 1977 after the two joined with members of Turner’s family for the ordination of Turner’s older brother, Bernard Turner.

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