A former Cumberland resident has filed suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland alleging that one of its former priests sexually assaulted and raped her during the 1970s while she was a member of the diocese’s Catholic Youth Organization.

The lawsuit filed by Mary A. Banks, who now lives in Rhode Island, includes seven counts ranging from sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress to breach of custodial and fiduciary duties and negligent hiring and supervision.

The civil complaint, filed Dec. 16, 2022, in Portland Superior Court, comes on the heels of other lawsuits filed against the diocese since Maine lawmakers in 2021 removed the statute of limitations to allow people with decades-old claims to file civil complaints.

At least a hundred other people with similar stories of abuse involving several organizations in Maine have connected with attorneys.

The suit alleges that former priest Renald C. Hallee, then assistant pastor at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor, sexually assaulted Banks during a CYO trip, and later raped her during a camping trip, both during the summer of 1972.

Hallee continued to pursue Banks afterward, writing her letters and at one point traveling to her home in Cumberland for an unannounced visit, according to Banks’ attorney, Mark Randall of Portland.


The Maine bishop eventually relocated Hallee to Fort Kent in 1973, Randall said. Hallee left the priesthood in 1977 and lives in Massachusetts, according to the complaint.

Randall seeks a jury trial, but the civil suit does not specify what Banks is seeking in damages.

Banks shared her story of childhood abuse publicly in 2021 before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “Time has not healed our wounds” was the title of a one-page letter she presented to the committee in support of L.D. 688, An Act to Promote Justice for the Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

“I will be sharing with you a heartbreaking story of pain and disillusionment. While this is my personal story, I want to also acknowledge the thousands of survivors of child sexual abuse who have gone ahead of me and who have generously shared their own personal accounts of anguish and betrayal,” Banks told the committee.

Banks grew up in Cumberland Center and was an honor student at Greely High School. She told lawmakers that during high school she became a member of the local CYO at Sacred Heart Parish in Yarmouth.

Through her affiliation with CYO, Banks traveled around Maine to other Catholic parishes. It was during those travels that she met Hallee.

Randall said that in addition to testifying before the Maine Legislature, his client also testified before the Rhode Island Legislature on laws that would give abuse victims access to the courts by suspending or abolishing the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases.

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