Lawsuit alleges Catholic priest groped a Highlands County woman

Highlands County

AVON PARK, Fla. (WFLA) – A shocking allegation against a catholic priest. He’s accused of assaulting a woman during confessional.

In April 2018, a woman came to Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park to confess her sins.

During confessional, she met with Reverend Nicholas McLoughlin.

According to the lawsuit, the woman claims McLoughlin groped her and forcefully kissed her after she broke away from his grip she recalled him saying, “You will regret this.”

In the suit, she claims she was bruised from the attack and now suffers from PTSD.

The church operates under the Diocese of Venice. The woman claims she reached out to the diocese after the attack, but was denied.

So she’s now filed a lawsuit.

She’s suing the Diocese for negligence, claiming they bear responsibility for the attack.

As for McLoughlin, he was placed on administrative leave later that year after allegations surfaced that he had inappropriate contact with a Hillsborough County minor back in the ‘70s.

He recently retired from the ministry.

8 On Your Side reached out to the church and to the Diocese. In a short statement the Diocese wrote- ‘The Diocese of Venice in Florida has not been served in this matter.  Father Nick McLoughlin is retired and no longer in ministry.’

The woman is seeking a jury trial. We’ll keep you updated.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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