James Grear Navajo lawsuit
PHOENIX — An Arizona man who says he was sexually abused by an Indiana priest more than 40 years ago sued church officials in both states Thursday, saying they allowed the priest into a Navajo Nation school despite his predatory history.The Diocese of Phoenix, the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana and Father James Grear are all named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in Arizona’s Maricopa County. The plaintiff, who is Navajo, is seeking unspecified damages for pain, suffering and other costs.
The Navajo man was a 14-year-old student in the late 1970s when he met Grear, then the assistant principal at Chinle High School in northeastern Arizona. He said he initially looked up to Grear as they spent time together on youth and church activities, according to the complaint. But between 1977 and 1982, Grear allegedly made repeated and unwanted sexual contact.
Grear was among 12 priests the Lafayette diocese named in September 2018 as having “substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor” dating back decades. Grear was ordained in 1970, and was “removed from public ministry” and “priestly faculties” in 2001.