The U.S. bishops’ conference and the Holy See face a class action lawsuit filed by six men who claim they were sexually abused by Catholic clergy during their childhoods. They are seeking financial damages as well as public contrition and reparation from the Church.
The 80-page suit filed Nov. 13 claims that the Vatican and the bishops knew about – and covered up for – the “endemic, systemic, rampant, and pervasive rape and sexual abuse” of the plaintiffs and others at the hands of active members of the clergy, religious orders, and other Church representatives.
Rather than protect the plaintiffs, the lawsuit says Church leaders protected and – “incredibly” – promoted the offenders.
Richard Coffman, one of two attorneys on the case from Beaumont, Texas, told the Beaumont Enterprise that he has been watching the unfolding of the recent sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and felt the “time was right” to file this lawsuit.
“There’s just a louder and louder outcry going on across the United States for the Catholic church to do something about this situation,” Coffman added.
The lawsuit was filed during the autumn plenary assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore, during which the bishops voted down a proposal that would have “encouraged” the Vatican to “release soon” all documents related to the allegations of misconduct against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The plaintiffs are seeking “compensatory damages, economic damages, punitive damages, RICO treble damages, medical monitoring, pre- and post-judgment interest, and attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and court costs.”
They also seek relief that would compel the Vatican and the bishops to “comply with various state statutes requiring them to report the abusive Clergy to law enforcement or other responsible authorities, terminate the abusive Clergy, identify the abusive Clergy to the general public so that parents may protect their children going forward, release documents evidencing such Clergy abuse to achieve transparency, and such other relief the Court deems just and proper.”
Full story at Catholic News Agency.