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Backslider: Catholic youth leader raped victim after promising not to do it again

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A Catholic youth leader who promised a teenager he had raped that he would never rape again if she didn’t report him to police was reported to police by his victim after he sexually assaulted her best friend.

In a complaint filed by Marain Foley against Brandon Eckerson, she claims that Eckerson forcibly raped her two days before Christmas in 2012. However, he convinced her “not to say anything further to anyone about his sexual exploitation of her; in exchange he promised to never again sexually assault anyone. It was understood that if plaintiff discovered he violated this sworn promise she would go to the police.”

According to complaint, the extent of Eckerson’s inappropriate behavior extended beyond sexual assault. As leader of a Catholic youth group, Foley alleges, Eckerson talked to her about “her life, seeking intimate details, including dating and sexual relationship,” and that youth group meetings were fraught with “permissive sexual dialogue, contact, spanking, slapping, gropings and ridicule.”

She also claims that Eckerson brought the group of minors to bars and restaurants in which they were illegally served alcohol, and that he frequently purchased alcohol for the group and consumed it with them during meetings.

She is also suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix; its Bishop, Thomas Olmsted; and the Reverend Patrick Robertson, who was the nominal supervisor of the youth group Eckerson ran, because she claims that after she told her doctor about the rape, “in compliance with state law [he] sent notice to Blessed Sacrament Parish, which circulated an email on the subject.” The complaint alleges that the church “knew that Brandon Eckerson was a danger,” “shared that concern with other members of Blessed Sacrament Parish and the Phoenix Diocese,” but never went to the police.

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When in June of this year Foley was told that Eckerson had raped another member of the youth group, she considered his “promise” to her broken and went to police.

“Then, and only then,” the complaint reads, “did the Diocese terminate him.”

[“A Catholic Priest Is Desperately” on Shutterstock]

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