Skip to comments.An alleged victim is called negligent
Posted on 04/29/2002 5:00:20 AM PDT by american colleenEdited on 04/13/2004 2:07:44 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
The cardinal's claim, filed in court by his attorneys, is boilerplate legal defense language. But a lawyer who is not involved in the case and has handled other cases involving allegations of clergy sex abuse said last night that the decision to use such a claim in so sensitive a case showed poor judgment.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
Does anyone still think Cardinal Law doesn't have to be replaced by a God fearing man of God?
Read "Goodbye! Good Men" by Micheal S. Rose for insight into why this situation was allowed to fester.
Incredible! Just when you think it couldn't get any worse...
Why even use the word "alleged"? This is beyond shamefull.
Massachusetts law officials bow and kneel to him at their Red Mass.
If it was ANYONE else --except maybe Gary Condit ....
I think Cardinal Law is a man who is so out of touch with reality he can't even think with common sense.
What the heck is a "Red Mass"?
This is beyond OUTRAGEOUS. Spending money on attorneys to trash 6 yr old victims and their families is perpetuating the evil-doing. The only answer is for parishioners to withold offerings until the cardinal comes clean.
This is precisely the message that the use of a 'contributory negligence' defense sends. And, given the Church's reaction to abuse cases and abusive priests, sad to say, it's probably the only reasonable approach a normally concerned parent can take. Never, ever, let your child be alone with any Catholic priest. Insist that there be at least three children and at least one lay heterosexual adult present at all times. The only exception is the confessional, and then only if it's fully separated.
As a lawyer, I appreciate that a 'contributory negligence' defense is normal legal maneuvering. However, in this situation, as many have pointed out, it is remarkably insensitive and in fact may verge on bad faith:
Consider that the Church encourages its members to trust the clergy and to allow priests to work closely with their children. It covers up abuse and then tells people they're negligent in not knowing Father Shanely et.al. are busy buggering little Bobby? If I were the opposing counsel or the judge, I'd come down on the Church's lawyers like a ton of bricks and tell them given the Church's 'unclean hands', the defense is unavailable.
The Church is really at crossroads here in these cases. They have to choose: defend the cases and lose the faithful or restore the trust of the faithful and essentially plead nolo contendere to the lawsuits, insisting only on some reasonable evidence that the abuse actually took place.
It's a hard choice, because the financial liability is going to be huge. Financial damage can be rectified over time, if the Church maintains the allegience of its membesr. On the other hand, if the Church continues to behave churlishly toward the victims of abuse, they will likely lose the cases anyway and lose all moral credibility. Can the Church in America really survive most Catholics believing they can't trust their kids with a priest? I don't think so. Mounting a significan defense to liability only reinforces the perception that the Catholic hierarchy is out of touch with the laity and interested only in personal power. What we have is a large number of men placing personal gain above the honor of the Church. The last time it was this bad, we had the Reformation. I'm not sure the American Church can survive if the people lose all trust in the priesthood.
People will argue that most priests are not homosexuals preying on kids, and that's probably true. But which ones are? How do you tell? It's like seeing a group of young black men dressed ghetto style: maybe 90% are as law abiding and hard woring as anyone, but 10% are thugs. How do you tell which is which. Even Jesse Jackson said, he was relieved when walking at night to see the people walking behind him were white, not black.
In my opinion, if the church believes in morality, it must not hire an attorney to attack a 6 yr old rape victim.
Cardinal Law is determined to destroy the Church along with himself. WHAT EVIL!!!
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
The local archbishop or cardinal should personally visit (unless the victims or their parents do not wish him to) every abuse victim, make sure he or she has whatever counselling and support is necessary and offer generous financial settlments. The Cardinal/Archbishop should diretly and personally acknowledge that the Church breached the trust of the victim and his or her family.
Anything less is inadequate.
I don't think it is a hard choice... if you are in the business of bringing souls to Jesus.
I keep thinking of Padre Pio during all of this. If these Cardinals and Bishops and Priests cannot imitate Jesus, why don't they look at the life of one of their own who lived during their lifetime - and ask what Padre Pio would do if he were a Cardinal.