Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Abuse victim drops suit against Holy See; Vatican lawyer says case collapsed

Catholic World News - August 07, 2013

An Oregon man has dropped his attempt to hold the Holy See legally responsible for the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, had charged in a lawsuit that the Vatican employed the priest who abused him, and approved his transfer despite prior complaints of sexual abuse. The plaintiff had already received a financial settlement from the religious order of which the accused priest was a member.

Last August a federal court ruled that the Holy See could not be treated as the “employer” of the accused priest. Facing a deadline for an appeal of that decision, the plaintiff chose not to pursue the case. His lawyer, Jeffrey Anderson, who has sought repeatedly to bring suit against the Vatican, said that the effort would continue “through other means.”

Jeffrey Lena, the American attorney who represented the Vatican in the case, said that the lawsuit should never have been filed. "They just continued to beat on this case way beyond when they knew it should have died,” he said.

Lena explained that a priest is not “employed” by the Vatican, but by his superiors in his diocese or religious order. In this case, the attorney had provided evidence showing that the Vatican was not acquainted with the case of the accused priest until 2011—well after the abuse had taken place and the lawsuit had been filed.

Lena pointed out that the Oregon case is one of several in which Anderson and others have sought to hold the Vatican liable for priests’ misconduct. “John v. Doe is the third case of its kind against the Holy See to disintegrate in the face of legal and factual challenge,” he said.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our April expenses ($26,663 to go):
$35,000.00 $8,336.70
76% 24%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Mysteries, again and again! 8 hours ago
Tips for getting comfortable with evangelization 11 hours ago
The Shroud of Turin on Display (and an odd canonical case against it) April 16
The Vatican says the LCWR is acting Catholic. And that's news. April 16
The Truth about the Armenian Genocide April 15

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16