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British court: diocese can be held responsible for priest's abuse

November 08, 2011

A British court has ruled that a Catholic diocese can be held responsible for the actions of priests, clearing the way for a sex-abuse victim to seek legal compensation from the diocese.

The ruling came in a case in which a woman charges that she was sexually assaulted by a priest in the Portsmouth diocese. The court ruled that although the accused priest was not technically an employee of the diocese, he was working under the discretion of the diocese and subject to its control.

“It was [diocesan leaders] who appointed him to the position of trust,” noted Justice Alistair MacDuff. The priest, he observe, “was provided with the premises, the pulpit and the clerical robes. He was directed into the community with that full authority and was given free rein to act as a representative of the church.”


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  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Nov. 09, 2011 5:32 AM ET USA

    Ok. When will they start holding radical mosques responsible for the proliferation of radical Islam world wide? Britain is a very fruitful ground for radical Islamists and the people trained there have done loads of damage in the form of suicide bombings in Iraq, Pakistan, Britain, and the US. But, yeah, let us focus on the people peacefully disagreeing. Gandhi was right, Western civilization IS a good idea.

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Nov. 08, 2011 6:19 PM ET USA

    By the same reasoning, Her Majesty the Queen should be held responsible for idiotic rulings from British judges.