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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
Attorney • (800) 770-7008

Does the First Amendment Protect Bishops of Pedophile Priests?

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This question will be answered by the United States Supreme Court now that they have granted review of

John Doe AP v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis

Docket: 11-840
Issue(s): Whether the First Amendment shields religious organizations from accountability for negligence and negligent supervision and retention of their employees who sexually abuse children.

Certiorari stage documents:

The issue will be of great importance because, as a New York Times Opinion recently pointed out :

Most state courts that have considered the issue have rejected this claim by churches, recognizing that holding religious employers liable for failure to monitor employees in sex-abuse cases does not interfere with constitutionally protected religious freedoms.

However, courts in Missouri, Wisconsin and Utah have twisted the First Amendment into a shield for organizational liability for pedophile clergy.

The decision will be important for survivors who need to get to the whole truth on what happened. They need to find out who was involved in the fraudulent concealment that has taken place. They need to know why pedophiles were transferred and shielded. The whole truth needs to come out.

The Church continues to fight these battles because they don't want the truth to come out. The best thing the Church could do is accept their responsibility and help make these laws better for those who have been injured.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.