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Defrocked priest McGrath now facing 20th sex abuse lawsuit

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St. Ferdinand parish in Florissant

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A former St. Louis area priest is now facing his 20th lawsuit dealing with sex abuse allegations.

The priest sex abuse victims' group SNAP announced the suit Thursday against the Reverend Michael McGrath.

The suit accuses McGrath of abusing an altar boy nearly 30 years ago, when the victim was nine or ten. The lawsuit says the abuse happened at St. Ferdinand Catholic School in Florissant.

McGrath's accusers have included Christopher Klump, a 30-year-old ex-Marine found dead in March 2003 in a St. Louis hotel room. Though Klump's death certificate ruled the death an "accident," a wrongful-death lawsuit claims Klump fatally overdosed on cocaine to escape emotional scars from McGrath's molestations years earlier.

SNAP says the archdiocese has settled 15 of the 19 other lawsuits against McGrath, though no criminal charges have ever been brought against him.

Along with St. Ferdinand, SNAP says McGrath worked as a priest at St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis City, St. Patrick's in Wentzville, All Souls in Overland, St. Simon's in Concord Village, Corpus Christi in Jennings, and the former St. Blaise's in Bridgeton and Christ the King in University City.

McGrath was removed from ministry in 1997 and later defrocked by the Vatican.

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