Monthly Archives: December 2008

Pope Benedict’s US Visit Hasn’t Changed Much

It has been more than six months since Pope Benedict visited the US. During his visit, he made a number of statements about his expectations concerning the treatment of sexual abuse survivors and the responsibility the bishops have as pastors to root out the evil affecting the Catholic Church.
When Benedict left, I wrote in this blog that I was cautiously optimistic about the potential change. In the ensuing months, that optimism has been eroded by bishops who continue to obfuscate, hide behind church lawyers, and deny any wrongdoing. Furthermore, their statements and more importantly, their actions underscore the fact that nothing has changed. They still remain concerned about their reputations, the reputations of those priests accused, and the general perception of the institutional Catholic Church. I’ve found precious little evidence of any concrete efforts to reach out to the survivors, remove abusive priests, and open up their files in order to show a good faith effort at transparency.
So, the court battles continue. As lawyers for survivors, we have to go to court and fight the Church in order to determine what happened and why survivors were shunned while priest abusers were shuffled off to other unsuspecting parishes. It’s obvious to me the majority of the bishops have no intention of real reform or change.

Catholic Church Abuse Lawsuit in Indiana

I’m about to start a press conference in downtown Chicago about the filing of another priest abuse lawsuit against Fr. Richard Emerson and Bishop Melczek of the Diocese of Gary. I’ve sued both of them before (twice) in Florida. Those cases are still pending. This new case involves recent abuse by Fr. Emerson dating to 2003-04 when the perp priest was stationed at St. Thomas More in Munster, Indiana. We now know that Bishop Melczek knew about Fr. Emerson’s issues with children back in 1992. He told then Cardinal Ratzinger that he (Melczek) had known about inappropriate behavior with children since Melczek cam to Gary in 1992. Furthermore, we have a letter from the former Bishop of Orlando to the Bishop of Gary in which the Orlando Bishop told the Bishop of Gary that Emerson must return to Orlando because of Emerson’s inappropriate attention to young boys.

Medtronic Lawsuit over Bone Growth Protein Product

The family of a California woman who died after neck surgery has sued Medtronic and blamed the company for the woman’s death. At the center of the lawsuit, Medtronic’s Infuse Bone Graft, is already under federal investigation for Medtronic’s possible illegal marketing of the product. Federal officials are investigating to determine if Medtronic was promoting the protein product for uses which the FDA did not approve.
According to the Wall St. Journal, “Use of Infuse in the neck is one of these so-called off-label uses. The only type of spine surgery for which Infuse has been approved is a frontal approach to the lower backbone, known as the lumbar spine.”

Johnson & Johnson Caught Up in Risperdal Scandal

Controversy is swirling about Johnson & Johnson’s attempts to bankroll a health institute focusing on treating children with the controversial drug Risperdal. While doctors can prescribe drugs for uses not approved by the FDA, pharmaceutical companies are prohibited from marketing such drugs for non-approved uses. That’s the controversy surrounding J&J and the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
Internal company emails circulating in J&J’s Janssen unit dating from 2001-02 raise issues about the pharmaceutical company’s behavior, especially since Risperdal was not officially approved by the FDA since 2007.
Risperdal has been a controversial antipsychotic drug since its approval. It has been at the center of a debate concerning the use or overuse of such drugs among young children.