Phoenix, AZ (written by Michael Clancy/Arizona Republic) -- A father who says his son was abused has sued the Diocese of Phoenix, its bishop and a priest, claiming his son's death was the direct result of the abusive relationship with the priest.
David Michael Pain Sr. filed the suit late Wednesday, almost two years after the death of his son, David Jr. The elder Pain, who goes by Michael, alerted the diocese and Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien of the abuse claim just weeks after David Pain died when Michael Pain shot him in self-defense.
The Rev. John "Jack" Spaulding, who served as pastor at several Phoenix-area parishes in his 40 years as a priest, was suspended in June 2011 after a diocese investigation determined the allegations from Pain and three other reported victims were credible. Spaulding is awaiting a decision on his future from the Vatican.
"Father Jack feels the pain of any grieving family," said Spaulding's lawyer, Philip Seplow. "He only treated the Pains with respect. He knows God's love will abide, and he expects to be fully vindicated by these proceedings."
Michael Pain says it would help his case if the other accusers come forward. They all made reports to Glendale, Ariz., police, but have chosen to remain anonymous.
Pain has said he believes the abuse at the hands of Spaulding altered his son's life dramatically. The lawsuit says the younger man "experienced a sense of betrayal, losing trust in adults, especially those who should have kept him safe."
It goes on to say David Pain "fell into a chaotic life of self-destructive behaviors, including drug abuse, delinquent acts, crimes and suicide attempts."
Michael Pain shot David Pain in self-defense in June 2010, when the younger man, then 39, barged into his father's home, screaming at him and threatening him. The father says he hoped to inflict a nonfatal wound, but the shot nicked an artery. David Pain did not go to the hospital and was found dead later in the night with methamphetamine and cocaine in his system.
Since then, Michael Pain said his communication with the diocese had been strained and infrequent. He says he merely wants compensation.
"I don't want to profit from my son's death," he said. "Any money I would get I would donate to an organization like Crossroads," which provides rehabilitation services and housing for people addicted to drugs or alcohol. David Pain spent time at a Crossroads facility.
The diocese already agreed to inter David Pain's cremated remains in a Catholic cemetery, and a ceremony took place in December. Pain says he was told the diocese would consider a donation to Crossroads, but would not meet his request for reimbursement for his son's rehabilitation. Pain says he has receipts showing he spent close to $80,000 taking care of his son's medical and therapeutic needs.
Pain said he has not heard from the diocese in several months.
None of the defendants was available for comment.