Court approves lawsuit against Benedict XVI and Vatican to face sex abuse case in USA
It's about time that the justice system in the USA out-power the corrupt injustice of the Pope and the Vatican and the Opus Dei in their WORLD DOMINATION Agenda.
The 12,000 American victims of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army is more than double that of the 5,000 victims of the 9-11 Wordl trade Center attacks. Wake up America! NEVER call John Paul II a 'saint' in American soil. John Paul II was the worst pope in modern times but Opus Dei want to make him a half-god because they wrote all his books for him...but now they are nothing but clanging cymbals.
Appeals court lets Vatican sex abuse case proceedNovember 24, 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled that part a class-action sex abuse lawsuit against the Vatican can proceed.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said on Monday that three men may pursue their claim that top church officials should have warned the public or local authorities of known or suspected sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville.
The ruling upholds a similar decision by U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II of Louisville in May 2007.
The ruling also upholds Heyburn's decision to dismiss claims that the Holy See was negligent in failing to provide safe care to the children entrusted to the clergy.
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release:
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sex abuse case vs. Vatican can proceed, judge rules; victims respond
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)
We're thrilled by this ruling. We're one step closer toward protecting more kids, exposing more predators, and detering future recklessness, and holding top Catholic officials accountable for the rape of hundreds of thousands of kids. Employers everywhere - religious and secular - must learn that endangering children and enabling predators is wrong and will be punished.
The legal process drags on slowly and church bureaucrats fight justice vigorously, so we caution victims and Catholics against prematurely getting their hopes up. But this is a very encouraging sign and very long overdue step in the long march toward justice, prevention and healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)
Court: Alleged Ky. abuse victims can sue Vatican
Ruling limited to actions on U.S. soil
By Peter Smith • firstname.lastname@example.org • November 25, 2008
Three Kentucky natives can pursue a lawsuit against the Vatican alleging it covered up sexual abuse by priests -- but only if those decisions were carried out on U.S. soil.
That was the ruling of a federal appeals court yesterday that upheld a similar ruling by U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II of Louisville in May 2007.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed with Heyburn that the Vatican -- as a sovereign state recognized by the U.S. government -- is largely protected from lawsuits.
But the court ruled that the Vatican could be sued over claims that bishops and others covered up sexual abuse as part of their role as Roman Catholic Church employees, as long as that cover-up occurred in the United States.
Attorney Jeffrey Lena, representing the Vatican, said he's "gratified by the court's work and that it has in our view significantly narrowed the prospects of the plaintiffs' claims."
He declined to say whether he'd appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The three men are represented by Louisville attorney William McMurry, who sued the Vatican in 2004, a year after he negotiated a then-near-record $25.7 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Louisville.
McMurry has said the Vatican itself, and not just local dioceses, needs to account for sexual abuse by clergy.
The three plaintiffs -- Michael Turner, James O'Bryan and Donald Poppe -- have alleged they were abused as boys by priests in the Louisville archdiocese between the 1920s and 1970s.
They are seeking class-action status on behalf of all U.S. abuse victims, contending that the Vatican for generations has orchestrated a policy of covering up sexual abuse by its priests, ordering bishops not to report abusers to police or warn parishioners.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiffs could not challenge actions abroad taking place in Rome or elsewhere -- including the creation of a 1962 Vatican document calling for strict secrecy in handling priests accused of sexual offenses.
"The actual promulgation of the 1962 policy … occurred abroad," said the appellate court decision.
But the Vatican can be sued over church officials who carried out the policy in the United States, the court said.
The appeals court denied McMurry's bid to sue the Vatican -- the world's tiniest nation -- in its capacity as a private international religious organization, rather than as a sovereign state.
The United States itself filed a supporting brief, arguing that U.S. recognition of the Vatican as a sovereign state needed to be respected and that, if the lawsuit was to proceed at all, it should only do so under one of the exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
McMurry was also denied in his efforts to sue under some of those exceptions -- such as an exception covering foreign governments involved in commercial activities.
The appeals-court ruling is "careful and seems relatively comprehensive going through all the machinations" of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law who regularly tracks Sixth Circuit cases. "It doesn't really tell you what might happen ultimately on the merits, but it leaves the case alive to proceed."
McMurry did not return phone messages as of early yesterday evening.
Unless either side appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, the case now returns to the U.S. District Court for Western Kentucky for evidence gathering and other pretrial activities.
A nationwide survey by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that 10,667 people alleged abuse by 4,392 priests between 1950 and 2002.
More than 300 people sued the Archdiocese of Louisville and two local religious orders, alleging abuse by priests and other church workers.
In a related matter, Judge Heyburn last month denied McMurry's motion to take the deposition of Pope Benedict XVI, saying McMurry had not made a strong enough case that such a step was needed.
McMurry contended that the testimony was urgent because the aging pope is the only living witness to the establishment of the 1962 policy.
Federal appeals court lets Louisville sex-abuse case against Vatican continue
By Brett Barrouquere
Associated Press Writer
2:18 PM CST, November 24, 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ A lawsuit can continue against the Vatican alleging that top church officials should have warned the public or authorities of known or suspected sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead for the lawsuit filed by three men who claim priests abused them as children. They allege the Vatican orchestrated a decades-long coverup of priests sexually abusing children throughout the U.S.
Louisville attorney William McMurry is seeking class-action status, saying there are thousands of victims nationally in the scandal that haunts the Roman Catholic Church. He is seeking unspecified damages from the Vatican.
“This is an enormously huge moment,” McMurry said. “We’re finally going to get to the root of the problem.”
Jeffrey Lena, a Berkeley, Calif.-based attorney for the Vatican, said the appeals court’s decision narrows the plaintiffs’ case because the court upheld dismissing several issues.
“It’s gratifying to see the hard work the judges put into the opinion,” Lena said.
Lena declined to say if he would appeal the decision. McMurry said he expects the case to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Several lawsuits around the country have sought damages against the Vatican, but many have been bounced around in lower courts. Attorneys for both sides say the Louisville case is unique.
It centers on a 1962 directive from the Vatican telling church officials to keep under wraps sex-abuse complaints against clergy. The document became public in 2003. McMurry claims that document makes the Vatican liable for the acts of clergy whose crimes were kept secret because of the directive.
U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II ruled in January 2007 that the men may pursue their claim that church officials should have sent out warnings about abusive clergy. But the judge also dismissed a large chunk of the lawsuit.
The appeals court upheld Heyburn’s decision to dismiss claims that the Holy See was negligent in failing to provide safe care to the children entrusted to the clergy, along with claims of deceit and misrepresentation by the Vatican.
McMurry also sought to depose Pope Benedict XVI, but Heyburn rejected the request. With Monday’s ruling, McMurry said, he would seek documents and possibly renew efforts to depose the pontiff.
“We will get to the bottom of this,” said McMurry, who represented 243 sex abuse victims that settled with the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2003 for $25.3 million.
Appeals Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, who authored the 20-page opinion, rejected part of the lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, which generally gives immunity to foreign countries from most civil actions. McMurry contended that the Vatican as a country and the religious institution were separate, but Gibbons said they are legally the same.
“Consequently, we reject plaintiffs’ contention that they are not suing the Holy See that has been recognized by the United States government, but a parallel non-sovereign entity conjured up by the plaintiffs,” Gibbons wrote.
The decision makes it tougher for plaintiffs to sue the Vatican as a religious institution without first overcoming the restrictions under the foreign immunity law.
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