Man's lawsuit says priest who fondled Foley abused him too

Published October 26, 2006

MIAMI - A retired Roman Catholic priest who admitted fondling ex-Rep. Mark Foley four decades ago is facing new allegations of sexual abuse from another former altar boy.

The accuser, identified as "John Doe No. 26" in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, claims the Rev. Anthony Mercieca performed oral sex on him in the late 1970s at St. James Church in North Miami, when he was 12 or 13. He decided to come forward after Mercieca's alleged abuse of Foley came to light, his attorney, Jeffrey Herman, said Wednesday.

The lawsuit seeks $10-million from the Miami archdiocese.

Last week Foley said Mercieca, 69, now retired on a Mediterranean island, molested him in the 1960s when Foley was an altar boy. In interviews, the priest said no sexual intercourse occurred but admitted improper contact.

Foley left Congress last month when confronted with sexually explicit computer communications he had sent to male teenage pages. He has been in a 30-day program for treatment of alcoholism at the Sierra Tucson center in Catalina, Ariz., since Oct. 1, his attorneys said Wednesday.