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Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Clergy sexual abuse lawsuits have been a mainstay of the media for the past 4 - 5 years. Although clergy sexual abuse has been going on for decades or longer, recent lawsuits have brought this chronic problem out into the light.

 

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In regards to the recent, ongoing waves of clergy sexual abuse lawsuits, no one denomination has been hit harder than the Catholic priests. Since 2000, clergy abuse ranks right at the top of Catholic church scandals. It is estimated that 1 - 2 percent of all Catholic priests have been accused of sexual abuse.

Most of the clergy sexual abuse lawsuits against Catholic priests have involved molestation of a minor. When George Weigel broke a news story in 2002 concerning clergy sexual abuse by ordained priest John Geoghan, this started a wave of allegations and lawsuits and would become the number one Catholic church scandal for the next five years.

In the later part of 2002, several clergy abuse lawsuits would be filed against Reverend Paul Shanley. In 2004, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger would reopen a Roman Catholic sex abuse investigation in regards to Mexican priest Marcial Maciel and in 2006 Pope Ratzinger forced Marcial Maciel to give up his ministry. This move helped to thwart speculation in regards to the Vatican hiding accused priests.

The allegation of the Vatican hiding accused priests was one of the most damaging aspects of the clergy sexual abuse cases outside the actual instances of molestations that happened primarily against teenage boys. Several bishops were heavily criticized for moving the priest pedophiles from one parish to the next, where the priests would then re-offend.

Critics of the Vatican hiding accused priests stated that the Bishops had no lawful business invoking Canon law over state law. Bishops were also accused of putting the financial interests of the Catholic church ahead of the wellbeing of the victims and those at risk of becoming victimized.

Archbishop of Boston, Bernard Law resigned for his mishandling of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in 2002. Bishop Brendan Comiskey of Ferns, Ireland also resigned for mishandling a scandal involving over 100 cases of sexual abuse of a minor.

More recent clergy sexual abuse lawsuits include a $150 million case involving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York and the $60 million settlement in the case of the California diocese presided over by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony. Mahony's lawsuit involved 45 cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors by several different priests. The archdiocese still faces an additional 500 clergy sexual abuse claims that have yet to be settled.

As far as Catholic church scandals go, the myriad of clergy sexual abuse lawsuits have not run their course yet and many more are expected to be filed in months to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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