YAKIMA, Wash. -

A federal judge has ruled the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yakima was not responsible for the sexual abuse of a 17-year-old boy by a Zillah church deacon in 1999.

Judge Edward Shea on Thursday rejected arguments that the diocese failed to screen and supervise the deacon when it accepted him as a candidate for priesthood.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports lawyers for the victim are deciding whether to appeal. The lawsuit sought $8 million.

The deacon fled to Mexico after the incident and did not return to the United States.