U.S. Department of State confirms service through diplomatic channels
Vatican sent original federal court’s service back saying it was “undesired and unwanted”
(St. Paul, MN) Clergy abuse attorney Jeff Anderson said today that a lawsuit against the Pope and two high ranking Cardinals on behalf of a Chicago man seeking to hold church leaders accountable for enabling and covering up sexual abuse by a priest at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was successfully served on the Vatican through official diplomatic channels.
An earlier attempt this year to serve the Vatican through the common practice of shipment by Federal Express was rejected by the Vatican when Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, Monsignor Brian Wells refused service of the lawsuit saying it was “undesired and unwanted.”
At the time, Anderson said Monsignor Wells’ rejection of the service was “an appalling and inexcusable slight to survivors, but consistent with the Catholic Church hierarchy’s tactics of deceit, delay and denial.”
Upon receiving confirmation of the service today, Anderson commented that “it will be interesting to see what new tactic for the delay they will come up with. One would hope that we could expect reasonable cooperation.”
Terry Kohut, the plaintiff in the case (John Doe 16 v. Holy See), was a student at St. John’s in the 1970’s and one of many deaf students sexually abused by the director of the school, Father Lawrence Murphy. “One reason Murphy was able to molest dozens of kids is because U.S. and Milwaukee church officials refused to challenge the Vatican to take strong action against predator priests. Now perhaps we can begin to get some answers of why this tragedy was allowed to happen,” Anderson added.
In addition to this case, Anderson has another case against the Holy See (John V. Doe v. Holy See) which is in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. In this case the Holy See claimed sovereign immunity from the suit and moved the court to dismiss the case.