Lawsuit Against Local Greek Priest is Settled

Author: Jackelyn Barnard and Dave Wax
Date Published: 05/07/2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL — The Very Reverend Nicholas Graff left his position at the St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church nearly two years ago.

According to a statement released by the Church’s Archdiocese, Graff will not be back any time soon.

The statement says, ”There has been no finding of fault or liability against the Archdiocese. The June 13, 2007, suspension placed on Fr. Graff continues and prohibits him from acting in any liturgical, pastoral, administrative or other official capacity within the Orthodox Church.”

The statement was released because the Archdiocese has settled with the family of John Doe.

”It’s over now,” says Helen Spohrer, who represents John Doe. Doe is now a young man.

The lawsuit Doe filed two years ago claimed he was sexually assaulted by Graff, his priest, as a teenager.

According to court records, Graff met the boy 14 years ago when Doe was ten years old.

The lawsuit claimed he bought Doe clothes, gave him $500 a week over a six-year period and offered $300,000 to his mother for her to surrender parental rights.

Court records contain adoption papers which were started by Graff in August, 2005, for the child. The adoption was later stopped.

Court records also contain a father’s day card from the child to the priest.

”Our clients are very pleased there is a resolution in this case,” says Spohrer.

All details of the settlement are confidential. Spohrer says she is not allowed to even say how Doe is doing.

”We are not at liberty to answer anything beyond that,” says Spohrer.

Graff’s attorney, Tom Fallis, told First Coast News the priest, ”Has not been defrocked.” Fallis had no comment on where Graff is today.

Those at the church today had no comment about the settlement.