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Legion of Christ lawsuit: $1 million may be sued against faith order by family

Cross of Jesus, symbol of Legion of Christ
Cross of Jesus, symbol of Legion of Christ
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Legion of Christ lawsuit has been permitted to continue this week after a local judge ruled that the frustrated family of a Yale University professor will be able to sue the faith order for a grand total of $1 million. The family of the late mechanical engineering professor, Dr. James Boa-Teh Chu, is alleging that the Legion of Christ purposefully intimidated and conned the man into depositing most of his assets to the religious group. The Inquisitr adds this Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, that after a federal Rhode Island magistrate was able to look at the specifics of the family’s claims, the judge opted to allow the criminal lawsuit to move forward in court.

The Legion of Christ lawsuit marks the first major grievance being filed against the well-known faith order by an individual family in the past three years. According to their allegations, several members of the religious group were able to persuade their spiritually devout father that the founder of the Legion of Christ, the now deceased Rev. Marcial Maciel, was no ordinary individual, but in fact a saint. However, it has since been brought to light that the church was actually looking into allegations of sexual abuse being set against Maciel. Furthermore, it was also expected that within the time frame of several years, the Vatican would have legal right to take control of the defunct order.

“After Dr. Chu’s death, [son] Paul found documents evidencing that the Legion was fostering this image of Father Maciel in Dr. Chu’s mind at the same time that it was aware of the facts being uncovered by the Vatican’s investigation,” wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan in her decision to allow the family to sue and the potential $1 million charges to continue.

However, the Legion of Christ is adamant in saying that they had no such intentions whatsoever, and that Dr. Chu’s donations were given out of the kindness of his heart and his faith, not coercion. The religious group had requested that the Legion of Christ lawsuit be dismissed, asserting that any and all contributions from Dr. Chu were not pressurized. They also noted that son Paul Chu was the new executor of his father’s estate, and as such, is not in a legal position to sue.

“James Boa-Teh Chu joined the order’s lay movement in 1997, and the following year named the legion as sole beneficiary of his annuities, which were worth between $1 million and $2 million when he died. His family claims that he was suffering from dementia in his later years and fell under the spell of the movement.”

Unfortunately for the Catholic Church, this most recent accusation is just another incident in which the faith order (or its subsets) is facing grave sexual abuse charges. For the Legion of Christ in particular, it was revealed back in 2009 that the same group’s founder may have in fact been the father of a potential six children, following allegations of sexual abuse and what the Vatican called “very serious and objectively immoral acts.”

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