Skip to comments.Documents Filed by Law Say Negligence by Boy, Parents Contributed to Alleged Abuse
Posted on 04/29/2002 5:52:35 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts
BOSTON -- Cardinal Bernard F. Law, in documents filed by his attorney, said "negligence" by a then 6-year-old boy and his parents contributed to alleged sexual abuse of the child by a priest. A copy of Laws legal response, filed in Middlesex Superior Court earlier this month, was provided to The Boston Globe by Roderick MacLeish Jr., who is representing the Fords.
MacLeish, who is scheduled to take Laws deposition on June 5, said he found the claim by the cardinal to be "appalling."
"There is no set of circumstances under which a 6-year-old child could be blamed for something like this," MacLeish said.
In the court document, Law declares: "The defendant says that the Plaintiffs were not in the exercise of due care, but rather the negligence of the Plaintiffs contributed to cause the injury or damage complained of ..."
The response also says that any damages assessed against Law "should be reduced in proportion to the said negligence of the Plaintiffs."
Carmen Durso, a Boston lawyer who represents others who say they are victims of abuse, told the newspaper that while he found no legal fault with the language, for Law to make use of it "is dumb beyond belief. It is a stupid argument to make when you know that Catholics are already angry at you."
The parents of Gregory Ford, who allegedly was abused by Shanley between 1983 and 1989, reacted angrily to Laws court defense.
"To say my son is legally responsible for his own abuse at the hands of this monster Shanley when my son was only 6 years old is horrific," Rodney Ford said in an interview published by the Globe on Monday.
An attorney who asked not to be identified told the Globe that Laws lawyer, Wilson Rogers Jr., would have been derelict had he not included every possible legal defense in his response.
A telephone call to the archdiocese for comment was not immediately returned.
The cardinals legal response involves the same lawsuit that forced the Archdiocese of Boston to release about 1,600 pages of Shanleys records earlier this month. The papers, made public by MacLeish, indicate that Law and his predecessor, Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros, were aware of Shanleys longtime advocacy for sex between men and boys. (AP)
First, the church wants to avoid the "worldly" system and deal with this as a sin matter only.
Then, in utilizing the "worldly" system, they permit this kind of language in their legal response.
Has the church lost its mind ?
I suppose that whenever he talks, his words are beyound questioning.
It appeares that he is hanging onto the edge of the slime pit by his fingernails.
Where have we heard before, "It's everybody elses fault but mine".
"Hey Law, I hope you sleep well and dream of these little boys and girls teasing the priest into perverted act".
You are beyound contempt.
The problem is not paedophilia, the problem is fairy priests, some of whom go after children because they are the easiest targets. Law is protecting fairies, probably, because he knows that if he goes after them, he'll lose half his staff. We got "don't ask, don't tell" in the clergy and the bishops don't want to do anything about it. I like the thought of promoting Law to Rome. It just has the feel of the federal government.
What else can he do? The diocese has lost millions that should have gone to pay for hospitals, schools, upkeep of churches, and other good things. His lack of control is partly responsible, but somebody still has to deal with the lawsuits. Abused children deserve some sort of consideration--although it's not clear that money is what they need. But keep in mind that at least some of these cases are probably bogus. There are lawyers on both sides, fighting it out in court or trying to reach favorable settlements, and we all know what that means.
I agree. I spoke with an attorney friend and he said that this language was entered into this document as an "affirmative defense". It is strictly boilerplate in civil cases. If it is not there, then that particular defense is not available later on in any trial if there is one.
Cicero, you are ordinarily a voice of sanity on this forum, but, out of concern for the Church, you've lost your perspective on this one.
This is abominally stupid, and will likely result in an even HIGHER monetary award from any jury in the Northeast.
Why is Law "defending" himself, when he knows there's nothing to defend?
Keep dreaming. His lack of control is ENTIRELY responsible. If Law had even an ounce of moral courage in his body he would have removed the priest-molester the instant it happened. But, since Law is a spineless coward, the situation became what it is. Boy the Catholic church sure has got some real winners in charge of their organization.
Should have been "abominably."
NO, Civil courts need to protect the innocent...the church needs to pay up. Also, Church leaders need to put child molesters and homosexuals out of the church, as commanded by the Word. If Church leaders refuse, THOSE LEADERS need to be put out of the Church. Any other response is unacceptable.