Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And once again

Bishop Clark has just been sued for having actual/constructive knowledge of sexual abuse and failing to act - article here.

Lord, have mercy.

6 comments:

Kasia said...

Did I miss something, or does the article not say much about how Bp. Clark would have known about this alleged abuse? And wouldn't he have had to know about it in order to be legally culpable?

And I'm no expert on legal ethics, so perhaps you can edify me: is it appropriate for Hayes to be representing on this case, since he was a plaintiff in a similar action?

These are honest questions - I am very aware of my own ignorance here.

In any event, I hope and pray that justice is served.

Dr. K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kit said...

Kasia -

If you click on the "file downloads" link at the upper right side of the article, you can view the actual complaint (lawsuit papers) that was filed. It doesn't come right out and specify (IMO, it's a formulaic complaint and not particularly well drafted), but the classic legal theory in play here is "respondeat superior" - the master (employer and supervisor) is liable for the torts of his servant (employee). This is why the various Dioceses/their insurers pay the settlements as opposed to the individual alleged abusers.

From what I have learned, personally, since moving here is that this Bishop is notorious for turning a blind eye, sending known abusers to outlying parishes - hence FIVE accused/alleged abusers were reassigned from the greater Rochester area to the Southern Tier area within the past decade - AFTER allegations were made. These are known facts, not gossip or calumny.

I cannot and do not say with any certainty here that Bp. Clark knew about this particular episode, priest, or alleged victim, but should it come to light in the discovery process that he did indeed have foreknowledge, it would not surprise me.

While the article states that this is "the first" such claim as to this particular priest, I can indeed tell you that I have heard this late priest's name mentioned in connection with the sex abuse scandals by people who attend that parish and who have lived here all their lives. Whether it's true or not, I don't know - we shall see as the suit progresses. The accused priest died before I moved here, but the allegations have been around for quite some time prior to this suit and clearly persist.

The whole thing sickens and saddens me - true or not. If true, this poor young man has a lifetime to relive these horrible experiences. If false, a dead man's name has been irretrievably slimed.

Kit said...

P.S. I don't see any conflict for this particular atty (presumably different alleged abusers in each case). Sometimes former victims, as attorneys, take on cases like these as a sort of vocation within the law, (i.e., advocating for rape or child abuse victims, representing foster kids, going into family law, becoming prosecutors, etc.) both because they have a unique understanding of the client's ordeal, and as a means of healing themselves and "taking back the night," as it were.

Kasia said...

The whole thing sickens and saddens me - true or not. If true, this poor young man has a lifetime to relive these horrible experiences. If false, a dead man's name has been irretrievably slimed.

I think that sums the situation up magnificently.

Thanks for the explanation (and the tip about the complaint - I didn't see it when I clicked over to read the article).

In any event...may justice be served, and may the Lord have mercy on all of us.

Philangelus said...

I'm so glad I'm no longer in that diocese.