Priest files defamation suit against antigay Web site

BY Advocate.com Editors

November 23 2002 1:00 AM ET

A Roman Catholic priest has filed a defamation lawsuit against the creator of an Internet site that accuses the Lexington, Ky., Catholic diocese of promoting a "homosexual agenda." In a suit filed this week in Fayette County circuit court, the Reverend James Sichko, 35, says Webmaster Efrain Cortes falsely accused him of being "actively involved in the homosexual culture that exists in Lexington" and of "cruising the schools in the diocese." Sichko, a campus minister at Eastern Kentucky University and Georgetown College, says the allegations have caused him "great injury" and forced him to endure "public hatred, contempt, and ridicule."

But Cortes--a maintenance worker whose Web alias is "Abe Lincoln"--says he is an Internet journalist who is telling the truth about Sichko and other priests. He vows that the 13-month-old Internet site, which also criticizes liberal Catholics, feminists, and dissenters, won't be shut down. "I hope to inform as many Catholics as possible as to what's going on in the diocese," he said.

In a statement released Wednesday, the diocese accused Cortes of "posting false accusations, vicious innuendo, and what can only be characterized as opinion masquerading as fact. [The] diocese applauds Father Sichko's attempt to seek a just resolution to this situation."

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