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#82827 - 12/16/04 07:49 PM (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
VEGA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 12

These days, the most outspoken advocate for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson doesn't wear a collar. He wears a jacket and tie, and the plaques in his office say esquire, not monsignor.

Kenneth Mullaney, the diocese's attorney, is about to take on one of the biggest civil lawsuits the diocese has ever been hit with. Last Monday, 21 alleged victims of clergy sex abuse and five of their wives sued the diocese for an undisclosed amount, claiming church employees were negligent and failed to prevent the abuse. Nineteen of the plaitiffs claimed to have been abused in a Mendham parish during the 1970s and 1980s by James Hanley, a priest whom the diocese defrocked last year.

"We're not looking to bankrupt the diocese," said Greg Gianforcaro, attorney for the plaintiffs. "We are here seeking accountability for the abuse that these guys maintained."

Mullaney, a partner at the Fairfield civil defense firm Dwyer, Connell & Lisbona, has another explanation.

"The victims are angry people trying to get revenge no matter how they can get it," he said. "They equate revenge with money ... The diocese is a target because the diocese is obviously a deep pocket."

Mullaney, 49, is the kind of man who never hesitates to offer his perspective, no matter how blunt it might sound. Even Gianforcaro, the opposing attorney, called him "an extremely truthful person."

Mullaney, who has neatly combed brown hair and a direct brown gaze behind oversized glasses, has never been afraid to speak his mind, said his wife, Marie, 50.

"He calls the shots when he sees them," she said. "He has said many times he doesn't care what anyone thinks, he's going to say it anyway."

These days, he's taking accusers head-on, talking plainly about their self-interest - something diocesan officials have not done - andrefuting the assertions of Hanley's accusers, all of whom claim to have been abused more than 20 years ago.

Though Hanley was never arrested and charged with a crime, the plaintiffs argue that the diocese and Bishop Frank J. Rodimer "knew and/or reasonably should have known" about the abuse, but failed to act. Rodimer claims not to have known about the abuse until after Mark Serrano, a Hanley accuser, came forward in 1985. The bishop didn't remove Hanley from ministry until10 months after Serrano came forward, something those claiming they've been victimized have criticized him for, even though none of them claims to have been abused during this period. ("No harm, no foul," is how Mullaney describes this situation.)

The plaintiffs assert that they should be compensated for the pain they have suffered. Many of them said their silence put a strain on their marriages and caused them years of internal anguish. Gianforcaro, their attorney, said they buried their memories of the abuse until two years ago, when Serrano came out publicly with the allegation that Hanley molested him.

The diocese maintains that it has tried to reach out to all sexual abuse victims - no matter how old the accusation.

"We have approached them with compassion because these are wounded individuals," said Marianna Thompson, the diocesan spokeswoman. "We are still Church, we are still Catholics. That is the appropriate pastoral response."

But Mullaney remains skeptical of claims of abuse like those of the plaintiffs, who remember their abuse years after the fact.

"How did they all come to recover their memories two years ago?" he asked on Monday, after the lawsuit was filed. "There must have been something in the water that they were all drinking at the same time."

Statements like this have not endeared Mullaney to victims like Serrano, an outspoken member of SNAP, which stands for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Serrano claims to have been abused by Hanley in the 1970s and '80s, but he is not a member of the lawsuit. He settled with the diocese in 1987 for $350,000.

"I think that (Mullaney's) operating from a very limited perspective," said Serrano. "I mean, I think it's quite clear that to suggest that this is financially motivated is a remarkable disregard for the suffering that people endure today. Those words do more harm than (they do) the diocese any good."

Mullaney says that as a defense lawyer, he doesn't have much tolerance for people who call themselves victims. Outside of work, he is hard on himself and on those who love him. He runs five miles a day, even in bone-chillingly cold weather, and pushes his two sons to succeed academically and in sports.

"We tell (our children), 'Don't look at the rest of the world to give you a handout,'" said Marie Mullaney.

He is also a devout Catholic, who started and finished his education at Catholic schools, and has sent his children, Kevin, 18, Matthew, 15, and Maura, 7, to Catholic school as well.

"I feel like - hey, all of us are placed on this Earth for a calling," he said. "Perhaps this is my calling - to defend the Church."

Growing up Catholic gave Mullaney the "foundation" and the "discipline" that he says he has today. It also has pushed him to stick up for the Church, even when other Catholics are railing against it.

"I went on overnight retreats, I was involved with the parish and there were some wonderful priests," he said. "When I hear about (allegations about abusive priests), I think of those great men, and I feel sorry for them."

As for defending the diocese, he plans to avail himself of all strategies, including statute of limitations for civil cases, which is two years after an incident, and New Jersey's charitable immunity law, which stipulates that those who benefit from a charity may not sue the charity.

And he will continue, it would seem, to be as outspoken and unedited as he has always been, especially where allegations of priest sex abuse are concerned.


#82828 - 12/16/04 08:11 PM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
VEGA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 12
This article was published on Jan. 18th 2004.This Lawyer has given me more of the reason to fight for what I believe in and support those who need our help.
Moving on with my life is what I'm doing but, I am doing it by continuing my fight against this same "former' Bishop and those who knew about these priests who abused us and protected them.
This lawyer also just recently lost his motion to have all our cases dismissed. So we are strapping our boots and our cases are moving on.

#82829 - 12/16/04 08:22 PM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
This Lawyer has obviously led a very sheltered and safe life. He also firmly believes that victims of crimes against them should move quickly regardless of the crime. But that is what the law is all about. Laws are to protect society and not victims. I wonder what he would do if one of his children was a victim of sexual abuse. "Blame him".

What a DIPSHIT remark to make.



#82830 - 12/16/04 08:59 PM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
estuardo Offline

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 45
Loc: ohio

As a clergy sex abuse victim/survivor, I read, heard, and been told to my face by many people (including members of my family) the same words this guy spewed out.

My thoughts, they will pay, dearly. Like my dad, who won't get to enjoy his grandchildren, because he wants to act like this guy, or any of my siblings, for the same reason.

The way I look at it: what goes around, comes around; you reap what you sow; you make the bed you sleep in; you'll have to pay the piper sometime (you get the picture). They definately will get what they deserve, some sooner, everybody in the end. Let them have their miserable, disgusting, demented thoughts. It will lead them to where they will either have to apologize, or give them their ticket to hell.

Either way I win. \:D


"I'm entitled to my opinion...even if it's wrong."

#82831 - 12/16/04 09:07 PM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1798
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
"They equate revenge with money ... "
Unfortunately I think this is true because of our culture’s attachment to material things. So many people think to themselves, “If I only got some money out of this I would be happy.” But money can\'t buy you happiness , I know survivors that have gotten the cash settlement, but are still so horribly sad…

I just wish folks would work harder on getting to the root of their pain rather than fighting for years to get the cash only to find they still have such a long road to travel.

#82832 - 12/16/04 09:35 PM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
VEGA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 12
I do have to clear something up.....although I am suing the Diocese, money for me does not matter. No amount of money can give me what was taken from me.
I am very much involved with fighting in many different ways in protecting my kids and kids in general. I am doing this because it is the only way they will listen and forces them to open files that they "the Bishops" hide from everyone because they will always claim that they knew nothing of abuse when reported to them but yet they have those claims they deny.
I have founded the first Hispanic SNAP chapter, SNAP Latino and is currently involved with a male Survivor board member in changing the Charitable Immunity Law and has testified several times in front of the Senate and Assemblymen to change that Law that the Diocese love to use.
Money will not buy me happiness in this case but, it will get me justice.

#82833 - 12/16/04 10:33 PM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1798
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
You are absolutly right, I agree with you. And you are working on the emotional issues as well by being here in conjunction with anything else you may be doing. I only meant to express how bad I feel for the guys that see the money as the only magic pill they need to recover completly from their abuse.

I remember seeing a news spot in here in NY where the news team found some poor survivor who agreed to confront his priest abuser on camera, and you could tell that this guy thought that this was the big break he needed. This event on the news was his big revenge moment and you could tell he thought that this was it, he was going to confront this guy once and for all and he would be the victor and he would be happy from then on.

I don’t think he was.

I’m not holding myself above anyone else, I am very happy with who I am now, however, I do (like many of us) wonder what sort of career would I have had I not been abused? How much more confidence would I have had and would I have the self worth to do better in high school and college? Would that have made a difference in income? Probably, so I wouldn’t mind some compensation for that, and maybe some day I’ll write that book about my recovery and maybe that will compensate for lost income.

But again, as long as someone understands that they can't just go for the money and shun the therapy then that's cool. I just worry aobut the guys that say, "Oh yeah, when that settlement comes through I'll be set for the rest of my life." "Who needs therapy when I got money, you know?"

I hope that comes across the right way.

Take care,

#82834 - 12/16/04 11:18 PM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
VEGA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 12
Yes Roland, I do agree with you and totally understand. Money for some maybe the answer and might feel better but, the therapy part of it is very important and cannot be ignored AT ALL!
It is easy for an IDIOT like this lawyer to say
He was obviously thinking of himself as a person who was fortunate not be sexually abused by a priest. So it easy for him to say that but, this is not a money train. Many survivors truely hurt and want to file and do not just to shy away from the embarrassment they still feel even though it is not thier fault.
I hope that "if" a settlement is reached in my case, I will donate money for those who seek this help. I cannot just accept the money and just "feel comfortable" living better without helping others. Places like Male Survivor, SNAP and other organizations that help us "move on with our lives" need donations to continue the help they seek for others.
The struggle still goes on and much work needs to be done.

#82835 - 12/17/04 12:07 AM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
reality2k4 Offline

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6845
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
There is absolutely no price you could ever put on a childs life. It can never rescue them from a life of misery.

ste \:\(

Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

#82836 - 12/17/04 02:52 AM Re: (May anger some) WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
Archnut Offline

Registered: 10/26/02
Posts: 343
Loc: United Kingdom
"My thoughts, they will pay, dearly. Like my dad, who won't get to enjoy his grandchildren, because he wants to act like this guy"

Wow, I was just thinking that the other night with regard to my father, as for the lawyer they make me want to puke, over here a couple of weeks ago a little girl aged four was put in the witness box for Christ's sake to give evidence against her forty year old male offender. The lawyers are in it for one thing and one thing only their win bonus.



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