Priest Sued, Accused of Abusing and Trying to Buy Rights to Teen

Author: Jackelyn Barnard
Date Published: 09/19/2007
Fr. Nicholas Graff
Fr. Nicholas Graff

JACKSONVILLE, FL — First Coast News has learned a Jacksonville priest has been sued along with his church and the church’s archdiocese.

The lawsuit centers around the St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church of Jacksonville and its former priest, Nicholas T. Graff.

A church member tells First Coast News Graff was a priest at the church for the last 17 years and retired in June.

According to court documents obtained by First Coast News, Graff met a boy, labeled in the lawsuit as “John Doe,” twelve years ago. At the time, the boy was ten-years-old.

The court records show the boy went to the church. According to the lawsuit, when the boy was a teenager, Graff began taking an “obsessive and inappropriate interest” in the child.

The lawsuit claims Graff took “John Doe” to and from school, and bought him an car and clothes.

The complaint also claims Graff gave the boy $500 a week over a six year period, while paying the boy’s travel expenses, phone bills, and tuition.

According to court records, when the boy was 16-years-old, Graff’s alleged “obsessive and inappropriate behavior” escalated into sexual misconduct.

The lawsuit claims the instances of sexual misconduct were “unprovoked, without consent and were harmful” to “John Doe.”

The lawsuit also claims Graff used money and accounts from the Orthodox church to “purchase items and provide monetary inducements” to “John Doe.”

The lawsuit details that in the summer of 2003, Graff offered the boy’s mother “$300,000 in exchange” for her “surrender of parental rights to Plaintiff Doe,” which the mother refused.

The lawsuit then goes on to detail that in August of 2005, Graff “sexually assaulted Plaintiff Doe,” and Graff “sought to formally adopt Plaintiff Doe.”

According to court records, Graff is accused of:

intentionally interfering with the parental relationship by making “untrue, disparaging and inappropriate statements” to the boy regarding his mother.

making false statements out of “personal motivation and for the purposes of alienating Plaintiff Doe from his family.”

using “his role as mentor and spiritual advisor in an attempt to alienate Plaintiff Doe from his mother.”

The church and the Archdiocese in New York have been sued in the case.

The lawsuit claims the Archdiocese was aware of Graff’s, “misconduct and sexual propensities.”

Graff lives in Oueens Harbor.

First Coast News stopped by Graff’s home. A family member told us Graff is out of town.

A church member, who did not want to be identified, said Graff is innocent.

Church and Archdiocese officials told First Coast News they would get back with us. So far, no one has.

The family’s attorney, Bob Spohrer told First Coast News, “Due to the sensitive nature of the allegations and the best interest of our client we prefer not to discuss the details of this case at this time”.

“John Doe” is now 22-years-old. According to the lawsuit, the allegations have caused him to get therapy.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has not been contacted about the accusations.