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Press Release: Judge dismisses historic child sexual abuse case involving Vatican’s role in clergy abuse cover-up

8/20/2012 2:28:00 PM


Press Release

Monday, August 20, 2012

Contact Jeff Anderson:  612.817.8665

Judge dismisses historic child sexual abuse case involving Vatican’s

role in clergy abuse cover-up

Attorney says appeal is definite

Statement of Jeff Anderson re:  John V. Doe v. Holy See

(Portland, Oregon)“We are saddened and disappointed that after ten years in the federal courts, United States District of Oregon Judge Michael W. Mosman dismissed the historic lawsuit (John V. Doe v. Holy See) brought by clergy abuse victim John V. Doe against the Vatican for its role in the cover-up and secrecy of the clergy abuse crisis in America.

However, be assured that we will be appealing this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Along with courageous survivor John V. Doe, we have been there before, and prevailed, and we expect to prevail again.*

In making his ruling Judge Mosman’s thoughtful remarks from the bench clearly expressed his difficulty in deciding the case as he referred to the case as very troubling and a close call. But he ultimately decided that under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) there was insufficient evidence to decide that the Vatican has both directional and operational control over priests in the United States.  The Judge also acknowledged that there would likely be an appeal of his decision.

Indeed, I can confirm that there will be an appeal.  We believe that under further scrutiny the courts will find that Vatican protocols and practice make it clear that obedience to Rome required the secrecy, and concealment practiced by priests and bishops as the clergy abuse crisis unfolded in the United States.

Finally, it is with renewed vigor that we must, and will, carry on this fight for transparency and accountability on behalf of John V. Doe and every single survivor of sexual abuse by a priest in this country and across the globe.”

*Note: Earlier in the case, Holy See claimed sovereign immunity from the suit and moved the court to dismiss the case.  However, both the Federal District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Holy See’s motion.  As a result, the Holy See petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case on appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition. 

Contact Jeff Anderson:  612.817.8665      Mike Finnegan:  612.2055531      Marci Hamilton:  215.353.8984