Statement of Jeff Anderson on the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s convening of Cardinals at the Vatican to discuss the Catholic Church’s response to the clergy sexual abuse problem:
November 18, 2010
Jeff Anderson Contact: Mobile 612.817.8665
“What Pope Benedict XVI needs to do is protect children—by taking strong action—not more talking. Bringing the Cardinals to Rome to talk is more of the same. The Pope should immediately call law enforcement officials to the Vatican and reveal to them the secret evidence that would prove crimes of cover-ups.
One wonders if this will be the time that the Catholic Church Hierarchy will finally stand up and take ultimate responsibility for the blatant disregard for the safety of the children under their care.
Will Pope Benedict XVI stand before the “Princes of the Church” and call on those Cardinals guilty of aiding and abetting the rape of innocent boys and girls to cooperate with civil courts around the world that are seeking justice and accountability for those who have been injured?
Will this gathering in the holiest of holy places in the world of the Catholic Church actually confess to world the harm they have directly and indirectly participated in?
Will the Pope demand and direct his lieutenants to open up the vaults of the Vatican and expose the records and documents that will allow the courts to fairly judge their individual and collective conspiracy to cover-up the sexual rampages of their clergy in almost every country on this earth?
Will any of those exalted leaders have the courage to stand up and encourage those among them who are guilty to stop the stonewalling and start the healing?
But, no matter what happens tomorrow in Rome, let them be reminded that there are courageous souls all over this world who will not give up the fight. After the summit, and after the apologies, the Hierarchy of the Church will still have to answer to the men and women survivors who have suffered the denials of generations of Vatican leaders. Their day in court awaits them.
[Jeff Anderson, Attorney for the Plaintiff in John V. Doe Versus Holy see, is an internationally known St. Paul, Minnesota-based trial lawyer widely recognized as a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation and has earned a reputation as a tireless champion of civil rights for children and the under-privileged. One of the first trial lawyers in America to publicly and aggressively initiate suits against religious organizations and hold them responsible by utilizing the American civil justice system, Anderson has represented thousands of survivors of sexual abuse by authority figures and clergy. Contact: office/651.227.9990 Cell/612.817.8665]
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
John V. Doe was abused multiple times in 1965, when he was a minor, by Father Andrew Ronan, in Portland, Oregon. Before Portland, Father Ronan was caught by Catholic Church officials sexually molesting seminarians in Ireland and children in Chicago. John V. Doe brought suit against the Servites, a religious order, and the Holy See, which is the head of the Catholic Church.
The claims against the Holy See include vicarious liability for the acts of its instrumentalities and domestic corporations, respondeat superior for the actions of Ronan as an alleged employee of the Holy See, and direct liability based on the Holy See’s own negligence in retention and supervision of Ronan, and its failure to warn of his harmful propensities. In response, the Holy See claimed sovereign immunity from suit under the FSIA and moved the court to dismiss the case.
The district court denied the motion to dismiss and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also denied the Holy See’s motion. As a result, the Holy See petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case on appeal. The Supreme Court then denied the petition which allows the case to move to discovery and trial in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.