The priest served in Lewiston and Rumford.

AUGUSTA (AP) – A priest who was accused in a sex abuse case has been ordered to pay a $500,000 settlement to a man who made the charges in a civil suit.

Superior Court Justice Kirk Studstrup’s order Friday ends the case against the Rev. Raymond Melville, who served in Roman Catholic parishes in Augusta, Rumford, Lewiston and Machias, but court action continues against the bishop.

Melville, who has been removed from active church ministry, has agreed to the settlement.

But it’s unclear whether Melville, who spent most of his adult as a modestly paid clergyman, has the money to pay it.

The suit was filed by Michael Fortin of Winslow, who alleged he was sexually abused by Melville for seven years, beginning when Fortin was 13 in 1985.

Fortin’s lawyer, Sumner Lipman of Augusta, said he plans to appeal an earlier ruling that dismissed Bishop Joseph Gerry and the church as defendants in the case.

The suit against Melville was the only active civil suit charging an active Catholic clergy member in Maine with sex abuse, but similar allegations have been made in recent years.

Melville, who is now living in Machias, would have no comment on the settlement, said his lawyer, John Whitman of Portland.

AP-ES-01-14-04 1015EST



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