Vatican US child sex abuse cases ‘falling apart’

Aug 11th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Featured

The plaintiffs asked to drop their case because US courts have recognized the Vatican as a sovereign state with immunity from prosecution, and, said McMurry, “because nobody has got a case that can meet the particulars that the courts say have to be met to win a case against the Vatican.

“How in the world are you going to prove that the bishop knew that the priest who abused a plaintiff in 1928 was a pedophile? The priest and bishop are dead,” he said.

Other child sex abuse cases against the Vatican were also fraying at the edges, according to Jeffrey Lena, the lawyer who has represented the Holy See in a number of cases that have come before US courts.

The cases of an alleged serial pedophile priest in Wisconsin and another in California “never filed anything,” Lena said.

And both sides in a high-profile case in Oregon will file for dismissal at the end of the month, said Lena, though a lawyer on the case insisted it was going ahead.

“The United States Supreme Court recently allowed the case to proceed and we will be providing the Oregon court with requests for documents and depositions in the coming months,” attorney Jeff Anderson said.

The clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in the United States in 2002 when the archbishop of Boston admitted he had protected a priest he knew had molested children.

The following year, the archdiocese of Louisville agreed to pay out nearly 26 million dollars in damages to 243 plaintiffs who had accused priests and other church employees of sexual abuse, and the archdiocese of covering it up. McMurry was the lead attorney on that case.

The sex abuse scandal has spread to Europe in recent months, with accusations of predator clergy coming from countries ranging from Austria to Ireland to the pope’s native Germany.

But in Europe, too, people who say they were victims of abusive clergy have come up against roadblocks as they seek justice for acts that in many cases occurred decades ago.

German prosecutors last month halted a probe against a German archbishop who was accused of allowing a priest to be hired even though he was aware of claims the man abused a boy in the 1960s, arguing that the alleged abuse occurred outside the statute of limitations.

© 2010 AFP

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