April
23
  4:22:54 PM

American abuse victims sue the Pope


Jeff AndersonThe lawyer is representing sex abuse victims of Catholic priests has made the audacious ploy of suing the Pope Benedict; the Vatican’s current secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a former secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano; and the Holy See over the misdeeds of Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy.

"We're chasing them. We're taking bites out of their ass," Jeff Anderson told the Washington Post a few days ago. "They are spinning this thing in a way that is untruthful. And the truth has to be known."

The colourful Mr Anderson, who has earned ten of millions from his lawsuits against American dioceses for himself and for his clients, has filed a suit alleging that Vatican officials failed to take action when the plaintiff, John Doe 16, wrote to the Vatican in 1995 asking for Father Lawrence Murphy, a known sex abuser, to be excommunicated. Mr Anderson says that his client suffered "severe emotional distress" because of a lack of action.

The Vatican’s lawyer in the US, Jeffrey Lena, dismissed the suit as a stunt:

The case against the Holy See and its officials is completely without merit. Most of the complaint rehashes old theories already rejected by U.S. courts. While legitimate lawsuits have been filed by abuse victims, this is not one of them…

The lawsuit represents an attempt to use tragic events as a platform for a broader attack -- this one dependent on re-characterizing the Catholic Church as a worldwide 'business enterprise'… Given its lack of merit, the lawsuit -- together with its de rigueur press conference and news releases -- is simply the latest attempt by certain U.S. lawyers to use the judicial process as a tool of media relations.”

 
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