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It’s always worth following what is happening at the Jeff Anderson and Associates blog to keep up the defense of the rights of survivors of clergy sexual assaults. Three cases of interest are happening in Wisconsin, Oregon, and Philadelphia.

In Wisconsin, a suit claims Pope Benedict XVI and two other top Vatican officials knew about allegations of sexual abuse at St. John’s School for the Deaf outside Milwaukee and called off internal punishment of the accused priest, the Rev. Lawrence Murphy.

In Oregon, United States Federal District Judge Michael W. Mosman ruled that a child sex abuse case against the Vatican can proceed to discovery of records and documents in the Vatican that pertain to a predator priest and his connections to the Vatican. In his order he wrote:

Here, Plaintiff has proffered evidence that tends to show the Holy See knew of Ronan’s propensities and that in some cases, the Holy See exercised direct control over the conduct, placement, and removal of individual priests accused of similar sexual misconduct.

In Philadelphia, attorneys filed a wrongful death lawsuit for the family of “Ben”, the 36 year-old former St. Mark Parish altar boy who committed suicide after clergy sexual abuse by a member of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

All of these examples from across the country of significant actions in the fight for justice. It will be important that the push for zero tolerance and full disclosure continue.

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.


  1. Gravatar for Mary

    Can't wait to sue the American Medical Association for malpractice for their inability to control individual MD's even though, according to the logic in the Oregon case, they are "controlling" agents of their professionals. Yup, can't wait.

  2. Odd that you would relate the Vatican with the AMA. I would doubt you really believe that. But I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

  3. Gravatar for Mary

    Actually, I think it is a logical next step. The Vatican sets the conditions for being a priest, much like any professional or accrediting agency does for its professionals. They track the priest's location but don't order movement (unless it is the appointment of a bishop) much like a professional body or accrediting agency does. They hear complaints and make judgments when cases come to them much like professional accrediting bodies do. They don't pay the priest, nor the bishops. The bishops have the authority in their jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions are set up by the Vatican but so do professional bodies have jurisdictions and similar pyramid schemes. Therefore, when one goes after the Vatican, they are going for the professional or accrediting body, not the employer. If one argues that the Bishop is controlled and when he makes a mistake, the Vatican is responsible, I would argue that when judges who are appointed make a mistake, we should have the ability to sue their appointers and the ABA who obviously failed in enforcing professional standards in an individual. So, I am saying that if the Vatican is considered a controlling agent even when not an employer of said individual - I think by extension one can argue that all professional and accrediting bodies could also be considered controlling agents. They set the conditions and criteria for being a professional. They make judgments that often come back to haunt them in cases. So, I think that they could be considered fair game for any kind of suit. So, I do think the AMA, NASW, ABA et al. would be fair game, especially in abuse cases.

  4. I just don't see it and really think you may not either. My guess is that it's just a attempt to defend something, with a very stretched analogy. But, I appreciate the time you took for the comment.

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