Eisenberg had sued Boston Archdiocese alleging abuse
CONCORD, N.H. -- The man charged with holding five people hostage at a Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign office sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in 2002 alleging he had been molested by a priest years earlier.
Leeland Eisenberg, 46, of Somersworth, grew up in Groton, Mass., and spent time in prison in Massachusetts, according to court records and published reports. He was one of more than 500 victims of the Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal who received payments in a landmark 2003 settlement with the Boston Archdiocese, The Boston Globe reported Saturday. Eisenberg's lawyer in the case did not return messages from The Associated Press on Friday about the case and its resolution.
In his 2002 lawsuit in Suffolk County (Mass.) Superior Court, Eisenberg sued former Archbishop Bernard Law, alleging that a priest at St. Catherine Church in Westford, Mass., molested him in the early 1980s. The priest denied abusing Eisenberg, who claimed the abuse started in 1982 or 1983 when he was about 21.
"The archdiocese has a long-standing policy and commitment to keep confidential any personal information relating to survivors of clergy sexual abuse. As such, we would not comment on any survivor or person named as a survivor," Terry Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said Saturday.
In the suit, Eisenberg said his mother died when he was young and his alcoholic father abused him. He said he was homeless and living in abandoned cars in an Ayer, Mass., junkyard when a priest invited him to live and work at St. Catherine. He moved in, sleeping on a folding cot in the basement boiler room.
He said another priest provided him with alcohol, showed him pornographic pictures and sexually molested him.
The Globe reported that in a 2002 interview with the Lowell (Mass.) Sun, Eisenberg said he was ashamed and mortified after being sexually assaulted.
"Subsequently, I spent years sexually objectifying women and womanizing in a futile attempt to prove I wasn't a" homosexual, the paper quoted Eisenberg as saying.
In addition to the priest's denial, the paper quoted one of Eisenberg's aunts as saying, "He's telling you a big story."
In 1999 and 2000, Eisenberg was incarcerated in a facility for sexual offenders at Bridgewater State Hospital, according to court records. He was later transferred to the Massachusetts state prison in Concord.
Eisenberg was charged Friday with four counts of kidnapping, one count of criminal threatening and one count of fraudulent use of a bomb-like device after he allegedly took three Clinton campaign staff members, a volunteer and a child hostage in Clinton's Rochester campaign office.
CNN, which talked to Eisenberg during the hostage drama, said he went to the office to try to talk to Clinton by phone about getting psychiatric care he could not afford. Told he could not talk to Clinton, Eisenberg allegedly displayed what appeared to be dynamite -- but turned out to be road flares -- strapped to his chest and took the hostages. Authorities said he released one hostage and her infant almost immediately, but didn't release the last of the others until a half hour before his surrender.
State police negotiators eventually won his trust and persuaded him to give up. Authorities said Eisenberg also could face federal charges.
He was being held without bail Saturday at the Strafford County Jail in Dover pending arraignment by video Monday at 1 p.m. in Rochester District Court, according to Jeffery Strelzin, a senior assistant New Hampshire attorney general.
Strelzin did not know if Eisenberg had a lawyer, and said if he doesn't hire one himself, the court typically would appoint one shortly before his arraignment.
Eisenberg was well-known to Rochester police and had been due in court Friday on a domestic violence complaint filed by his wife, who was seeking a divorce. In court papers, she said he suffered from "severe alcohol and drug abuse" and had threatened her.
Through her son, she declined to comment to the AP Friday night.
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