He’s Been Called “Most powerful predator priest ever”
Head of his own religious order, close to Pope John Paul II, Accused of Molesting Dozens, Fathering Two Kids & Other Misdeeds
(St. Paul, MN) A Connecticut judge’s ruling today will allow a high-profile child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit to move forward. It involves a prominent cleric who was close to Pope John Paul II and the controversial religious order he founded and led for decades.
In a 15 page Memorandum of Decision issued today, Superior Court Judicial District of Hartford Judge Grant Miller ruled against the Legionaries of Christ, a large, secretive, and powerful Catholic group whose founder and long time leader, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, allegedly molested dozens of boys over decades, fathered children with two women, and is also accused of financial misdeeds.
Attorneys for the Legionaries of Christ had asked that the suit be tossed out.
“We are grateful this judge is giving us the chance to prove in court how many top Catholic officials knew about, for decades, the horrific child sex crimes this extremely influential priest committed around the world,” said the plaintiff’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, of St. Paul MN.
“We applaud this brave survivor for his courage in exposing the Legion, a rich and powerful Catholic institution that, for years, let a sinister offender lead it while he abused many kids,” said Joel Faxon of New Haven, another attorney on the case. “Letting this case move forward gives a chance for the truth to be known and very dark secrets to finally be revealed.”
In denying the Legionaries of Christ “motion to strike” and upholding the parts of the lawsuit alleging negligence and negligent supervision against the Legion, Judge Miller noted that the victims’ complaint “states a valid cause of action for negligent supervision.”
In 1994, in an open letter appearing in major newspapers of Mexico City as a paid advertisement and celebrating Maciel’s 50th anniversary as a priest, Pope John Paul II called the priest “an efficacious guide to youth”— even though Maciel had already been publicly accused of sexually assaulting at least nine former seminarians as children and teenagers.
“While Maciel’s predator behavior and the horrors he inflicted on children are paramount in our minds, this case is so very important because it is about a powerful church hierarchy that knew, in the 1950s, that Maciel was violating vulnerable children,” Anderson said. “Clearly, Maciel operated at the right hand of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, while his vast and influential church allies concealed the horrors he perpetrated against extraordinarily helpless kids.”
In May of 2006, Maciel was “invited” by Pope Benedict to “live a life of prayer” and stepped down as head of the Legion. He died in January of 2008.
Note: Copy of Judge Miller’s Memorandum of Decision is available at www.AndersonAdvocates.com