Popular priest accused of sexual abuse

April 15, 2011

A Catholic priest known to many as the “race track reverend” faces accusations of sexually abusing a child. The alleged victim, who filed a lawsuit Thursday, claims the priest also tried to buy his silence. Father Philip DeRea, who has been the Catholic chaplain for the Indianapolis 500 since 1971, is accused of luring an 11-year-old into a long-term sexual relationship back in the 1980s. DeRea is known for his associations with many track celebrities, including race car legend Mario Andretti and late actor and team owner Paul Newman. He performed the wedding ceremony for racer Dario Franchitti and actress Ashley Judd.