In Wake of Pope’s Visit, Sex Abuse Lawsuits and Settlements Continue

Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in the United States next week to visit the Catholic faithful. He’s already announced that he won’t speak about the priest sex abuse crisis. Yet, the facts of the sex abuse scandal can not be ignored. Just this week, an Indiana appeals court has allowed a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to proceed in spite of the fact that the sex abuse occurred more than 20 years ago. The judge ruled in favor of the abuse victim in a 2 page decision.
In a case I’ve filed on behalf of a victim in Orlando, the judge has ruled that the Diocese of Gary must turn over the internal church files concerning Fr. Richard Emerson, the priest abuser in question. The documents include letters from then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) to the Bishop of Gary about this perp priest. Ratzinger was in charge of the laicization of abusive priests prior to becoming pope.
In other abuse news, sexual abuse lawsuits have been settled in the last week against the Archdiocese of Denver. In the past month, I settled a case against the Diocese of St. Augustine in which my client was abused more than 50 years ago. We filed suit and were prepared to take the Diocese to trial if necessary.
So, Benedict is coming to the United States. If he wants to pretend the abuse crisis is over, we can’t change his thinking. But, the reality speaks volumes. Victims are coming forward. They are taking their lives back by speaking out and seeking justice. They’re becoming survivors rather than victims. It’s a shame Benedict can’t celebrate that good news.