Court lets Vatican-sex abuse lawsuit move forward – Yahoo! News
A lawsuit against the Vatican that had been dismissed as a publicity stunt moved forward when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Holy See. Monday’s development represents a significant advance for what many believed to be a long-shot claim that the Vatican bears legal responsibility for molester priests.
The high court’s decision not to stop the lawsuit means the clergy sex abuse case will go to trial in an Oregon district court.
“I have known for 25 years that all roads lead to Rome,” said Jeff Anderson, the Minnesota attorney who represents the plaintiff. “This is the beginning for us of a new journey, a uniquely difficult odyssey.”
Anderson, who has represented hundreds of abuse victims and has tried for years to sue the Vatican, said he hoped to persuade a judge that he should be allowed to depose Vatican officials.
Jeffrey Lena, the American attorney for the Holy See, argued the Vatican is not responsible for individual priests in dioceses, saying the existence of the priest in the case “was unknown to the Holy See until after all the events in question.”
The original lawsuit, John V. Doe v. Holy See, was filed in 2002 by a Seattle-area man who said the Rev. Andrew Ronan repeatedly molested him in the late 1960s.
Anderson argues in the case that priests are Vatican employees for the purpose of American law. If the trial judge agrees, that would constitute an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, under which the Vatican has been immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.
A lower court judge previously ruled there could be enough of a connection between the Holy See and Ronan for him to be considered a Vatican employee under Oregon law. That ruling was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Lena had asked the federal courts to throw out the lawsuit.
“The Holy See does not pay the salary of the priest, or benefits of the priest, or exercise day-to-day control over the priest, and any of the other factors indicating the presence of an employment relationship,” Lena said.
…..However, Steve Rubino, a New Jersey attorney who has represented abuse victims since the 1980s, argued that the court could react differently now that the scope of clergy sex abuse is better known. The case against the Vatican is proceeding as European churches, Vatican officials and Pope Benedict XVI are engulfed by the latest crises over clergy sex abuse.
Rubino said that when he first took up abuse cases, diocesan attorneys often won by arguing that First Amendment religious freedom protections meant that civil courts could not interfere in church business. That approach rarely works any more.
“The world has been affected by a slow realization of the depth of the scandal,” Rubino said. “Judges react the same way. People are tired of this.”
A separate lawsuit filed in Louisville, Ky., and still in the courts, contends the Vatican is responsible for U.S. bishops who failed to stop priests from molesting children.
So now the Vatican and the Holy See are crying and whining that these matters should be investigated and addressed internally by church representatives. Well, the world allowed them 2000 years to do this and they foot dragged, denied, minimized, lied and obfuscated the problem and refused to do it. So that is why the civilian courts of law had to step in and do it for them.
July 3, 2010 at 7:49 am
Take away the tax exempt status of the RC church. Tax their income and their vast property holdings. The American taxpayer should not have to foot the bill for these perverts to “do their thing.”
July 3, 2010 at 7:53 am
My hat’s off to Attny. Jeff Anderson and all others who are trying to help the victims of these abusers. Keep going for it, and don’t let up…they ALL need to be prosecuted for their involvement in these crimes, and that includes the Pope!! They have committed these crimes all over the world, time for a Governing World Council to strip the Vatican of it’s Sovereign Statehood, confiscate all properties and let Cristy’s in to auction it all off.
July 3, 2010 at 7:58 am
… everyone seems to have forgotten the main problem with their immunity case….. the vatican isnt a independant state, they are technically part of italy. italy allows them to have their own police force and govern themselves. with that said, they shouldnt have diplomatic immunity.
Of COURSE the Vatican is culpable. They knew and did nothing. Worse, the knew and enabled perpetrators to continue!/i
July 3, 2010 at 8:04 am
(NOT ALL MONKS OR PRIESTS ARE NOBLE. SOME DON’T HAVE METTA OR KARUNA/MERCY SEE BELOW:)
WHO SAYS CATHOLIC PRIESTS ARE JUST RAPISTS, THEY KILL TOO.
Genocide term for Rwanda priest
A Rwandan priest has been jailed for life after a U.N. tribunal extended his sentence for ordering militiamen to burn and bulldoze a church with 1,500 people inside. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s ruling came after Roman Catholic priest Athanase Seromba appealed his 2006 conviction, a statement posted on the body’s Web site late Wednesday said. He was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The tribunal is trying the alleged masterminds of the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists over a 100-day period. The tribunal said it convicted Seromba for “his role in the destruction of the church in Nyange Parish, and the consequent death of approximately 1,500 Tutsi refugees sheltering inside.”
Seromba was convicted of leading a militia that attacked the people and poured fuel through the roof of the church, while police threw grenades inside. After failing to kill everybody inside the church, Seromba ordered it to be demolished, the tribunal found.
Thousands of Rwandans have turned away from Catholicism, angered and saddened by the complicity of church officials in the genocide. Priests, nuns and followers were implicated in the killings and some churches were sites of notorious massacres.
July 3, 2010 at 8:14 am
(NAIVE PEOPLE THINK ALL MONKS WITHOUT EXCEPTION ARE GOOD AND ALL FOLLOW THE MONKS’ RULES. THEY GET MAD WITH OTHER PEOPLE MAKING ACCUSATIONS AGAINST BAD MONKS. SEE WHAT PAUL KING HAS TO SAY. HE SAYS ONLY 2% OF THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST CC ARE FALSE. THAT IS 98% ARE TRUE!)
“And why is it that we never discuss the INNOCENT priests whose lives have been destroyed by false accusations? When will they get justice? ”
THAT IS VERY, VERY RARE
Fewer than 2 percent of sexual abuse allegations against the Catholic church appear to be false.
4,570 allegations were substantiated (80%)
1,028 allegations were unsubstantiated (18%)
83 allegations were deemed false (1.5%)
Kathleen McChesney, who was the first executive director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has summarized the John Jay findings on false allegations: “False reporting of sexual abuse by children is very rare.