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CARMEL, Ind.–A suspended Catholic priest who was an associate pastor in Carmel is suing a man who is accusing him of inappropriate conduct.

Before Rev. James De Oreo worked at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church, he was a priest at St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church in Zionsville. De Oreo met a then-high school student at that church. That student would eventually sue him.

In January 2021, the student wrote a letter to the Diocese of Lafayette, claiming he was trying to become a priest when DeOreo used his position to emotionally abuse him. The student accused De Oreo of urging him to participate in a fasting program that “spiraled into a vicious eating disorder.”

Court documents say the diocese investigated those claims, but found no evidence of wrongdoing and took no action.

There are no accusations of any sexual misconduct. De Oreo denies all of the man’s claims, and is pushing ahead with his lawsuit so he can keep his job as a priest.

Lawyers from both sides agreed to move the case from a Hamilton County court to one in Boone County. The former student lives in Boone County.

The Diocese of Lafayette says they will not comment on pending litigation.