Dec 23, 2005

"Pulling the strings?"

The December 23 L.A. Times story "Door Kept Open for Priest-Sex Lawsuits" reported that on Thursday, Federal Judge William Q. Hayes upheld the California state law that temporarily nullified the statute of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits so people could sue the Church for damages for allegedly not protecting them from molesters in the clergy.

The Diocese of San Diego had asked the court to declare that the law unconstitutionally violates the Church's religious freedom and due process rights. The diocese's attorney, J. Michael Hennigan, said the diocese is "strongly considering an appeal."

All the pending lawsuits against the Church depend on the law's being upheld.

Raymond Boucher, a lawyer for 560 claims against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, called Cardinal Mahony "the puppet master, the one pulling the strings" behind the San Diego diocese's lawsuit. Hennigan, the Times notes, is the Cardinal's lead lawyer in clergy sex abuse cases. Hennigan says insurers are paying his fees in the San Diego case.

Hennigan says all the California bishops back the San Diego diocese's suit. He adds that Cardinal Mahony hopes to settle all the cases "before we get the final answer to this important question" (of the law's constitutionality).

Altogether, another sad chapter in a supremely sad serial.


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