Skip to comments.$30 Million Is Awarded Over Abuse by Priest
Posted on 12/02/2010 7:29:28 AM PST by marshmallow
A jury in Delaware on Wednesday awarded $30 million in compensatory damages to a man who said he was sexually abused more than 100 times by a Roman Catholic priest the largest such award granted to a single victim in a clergy abuse case, victims advocates said. Related
In an unusual outcome, the jury decided that the parish where the abuse occurred, St. Elizabeth in Wilmington, must pay $3 million of the damages, while the perpetrator is liable for the rest. Parishes have previously been held liable in only one or two cases involving abuse by Catholic priests, according to records kept by an advocacy group for victims known as bishopaccountability.org.
It is usually the diocese or the religious order, not the parish, that is held responsible for damages. But the Diocese of Wilmington, which covers all of Delaware, declared bankruptcy last year just as the lawsuit was going to trial, so this lawsuit as well as more than 100 pending lawsuits against the diocese was frozen.
The jury is set to hear evidence on punitive damages on Monday. Thomas S. Neuberger and Stephen J. Neuberger, father-son lawyers for the plaintiffs, say they have saved the most damning evidence for this phase, and that the award to the plaintiff could grow substantially beyond the compensatory damages.
The abuse occurred in the 1960s. But Delaware and California passed window laws in recent years that temporarily lifted the statutes of limitations, allowing old cases like this one to be filed. Catholic dioceses in several other states, including New York, have successfully lobbied against such laws.
The plaintiff, John M. Vai, is one of seven people who have filed lawsuits alleging abuse by Francis DeLuca, a former priest whose defrocking was announced by the diocese in 2008.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
The noteworthy point about this judgment is that they've whacked the parish where it occurred.
Are there many priests, outside of those who donate to Al Gore's campaign, who are worth $27,000,000?
In what way can the parish be liable for the sins of this priest?
>In what way can the parish be liable for the sins of this priest?
They were warned about him and did nothing? Not saying that’s what happened.
It was the bishop who placed the priest there, correct?
Where were the attorneys?
I wonder if this is one of the juries that I have heard about.
They enter the deliberation room and say, “Well, he’s a Catholic priest, now let’s prove him guilty.”
Believe me, this has happened!!!!!!!!!!
How the hell is that legal?
This guy got nailed 100 times, why would he even go back after the first time?
Can we sue the mosque that the 19 terrorists attended while in this country?
Hmmm, that isn’t really fair. I am assuming this was a minor child. In the eyes of some Catholic parents (mine included!) priests are minor deities unto themselves. I am sure that even if the boy was 16 or 17 years old, he was in a powerless situation. That is why there are statutory rape laws in the first place.
Now, the damages against the parish are crazy. My parish is in this same Diocese, and we are hanging by a thread. I mean, when it snows too much, we have a special collection because we can barely keep the books balanced. If we got hit with something like this, which is beyond the control of the parish community, it would make the parish fold. Period. How was it demonstrated that the parish was liable?
I went back and read more carefully. He says that he was a small boy that was hauled up the steps to the priest’s room. It doesn’t sound like he had much choice. What recourse does a little kid have? Who would have believed him?
I guess I am different I know for a fact that the first time a priest would have tried that crap with me I would have stopped going to that church and my parents would have been all over his superiors.
As for why the parish should pay for what this priest did I do not think they should have to unless there were complaibts and they did noting to interfer.
even if the boy was 16 or 17 years old, he was in a powerless situation.
wrong again kemosabe, no 16 or 17 year old young man is powerless. I work in a juvenile corrections facility and believe thee me, those kids are a long way from helpless. They do, however, sometimes display homosexual tendencies and are therefore willing to go along with an older person who promises them physical pleasure. This does not, in any way, meet the “child abuse” description. It is simply an older and a younger homosexual encounter.
The parish was targeted as simply the next in line; the diocese is bankrupt.
“How the hell is that legal?”
It is a frightening precedent, and can be used for any type of crimes.
Depends a bit on Delaware Law, I am no legal expert by any means, but there are a few different categories a Parish may fall under, fee simple and corporation sole are two. Both imply similar but different liabilities they can incur.