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#84201 - 04/29/02 11:25 PM Priest blames 6 yr old victim

An alleged victim is called negligent

In his first legal response to charges that the Rev. Paul R. Shanley began molesting a Newton boy when he was 6 years old, Cardinal Bernard F. Law has asserted that ''negligence'' by the boy and his parents contributed to the alleged abuse.

The cardinal's claim, filed in court by his attorneys, is boilerplate legal defense language. But a lawyer who is not involved in the case and has handled other cases involving allegations of clergy sex abuse said last night that the decision to use such a claim in so sensitive a case showed poor judgment.

Carmen Durso, a Boston lawyer who represents others who say they are victims of abuse, said he found no legal fault with the language. But for Law to make use of it, Durso said, ''is dumb beyond belief. It is a stupid argument to make when you know that Catholics are already angry at you.''

Added Durso: ''From the start, the archdiocese has been incredibly stupid in the way they have handled this crisis. And as hard as it was to do, they have managed to make things worse.''

''How could you possibly ever argue to a jury that a 6-year-old is responsible for his own sexual abuse,'' MacLeish said. Gregory Ford's abuse allegedly began when he was 6 and ended when he was 13 - when Shanley resigned as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton in early 1990 and moved to California.

#84202 - 04/30/02 01:58 AM Re: Priest blames 6 yr old victim
orodo Offline

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
Monday, April 29, 2002 E-mail This Article
Court documents filed by Cardinal Law say negligence by boy, parents contributed to alleged sexual abuse

Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) — A legal response by Cardinal Bernard F. Law to a lawsuit filed by an alleged priest sex abuse victim and his parents says in part that their "negligence" contributed to the alleged abuse.

The argument from the cardinal’s attorney, contained in a six-page response to the lawsuit filed against him by Gregory Ford, now 24, and his parents, Rodney and Paula Ford of Newton, is a standard legal defense, but has sparked criticism because of the delicate nature of the case.

In their civil lawsuit, the Fords allege that Law was negligent in overseeing the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, who he knew, or should have known, was a danger to children.

Law’s legal response, filed in Middlesex Superior Court earlier this month, denies each of the individual allegations against Law, and Law’s personal knowledge of them.

After responding to each of the plaintiff’s complaints, the response says: "The defendant says that the Plaintiffs were not in the exercise of due care, but rather the negligence of the Plaintiffs contributed to cause the injury or damage complained of..."

The passage goes on to say that because of the plaintiff’s negligence, "recovery of the plaintiffs is barred in whole or in part or is subject to diminution."

The response also says that any damages assessed against Law "should be reduced in proportion to the said negligence of the Plaintiffs," and that the lawsuit was not brought "within the time specified by" state law.

The archdiocese did not immediately return calls to comment Monday.

The Fords’ attorney, Roderick MacLeish, who is scheduled to take Shanley’s deposition on May 2 and Law’s on June 5, said he found the claim by the cardinal "appalling."

"There is no set of circumstances under which a 6-year-old child could be blamed for something like this," MacLeish said.

The parents of Gregory Ford, who allegedly was abused by Shanley between 1983 and 1989, reacted angrily to Law’s court defense.

"To say my son is legally responsible for his own abuse at the hands of this monster Shanley when my son was only 6 years old is horrific," Rodney Ford said in an interview published by The Boston Globe on Monday.

The language in the answer allows the archdiocese to raise a defense known as the "doctrine of contributory negligence" — the argument that the plaintiff is responsible — as the case progresses, said Rosanna Cavallaro, a law professor at Suffolk University.

She called the language "boilerplate... formulaic, canned responses," and said it would be unusual for an attorney not to raise every defense available, including this one. That said, it could be perceived as "a thumb in the eye" for the Fords.

"I think most people would be very unpleasantly struck by that, to hear that coming from the Cardinal," she said.

David Yas, publisher and editor-in-chief of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, said Law’s response, while potentially "surprising and disturbing to members of the public," was "hardly unusual."

"When a lawyer has to defend someone in a case like this, they have to cast a wide net of defense in order to defend their client’s rights. That’s exactly what happened here. It borders on disingenuous to say that anything outlandish is happening here," he said.

The cardinal’s legal response involves the same lawsuit that forced the Archdiocese of Boston to release about 1,600 pages of Shanley’s records earlier this month.

The papers indicate that Law and his predecessor, Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros, were aware of Shanley’s longtime advocacy for sex between men and boys.

Shanley, 71, whose last known address is in San Diego, has issued no public statements since the case began.

© 2002 Geo. J. Foster Company


It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

#84203 - 04/30/02 02:59 AM Re: Priest blames 6 yr old victim

It does'nt get much grosser than this. He probably made the sign of the cross before and after dorking the kid. This shit's straight out of The Excorcist..!!

#84204 - 04/30/02 03:07 AM Re: Priest blames 6 yr old victim
orodo Offline

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
We will get them where it the pews and the collection plate. Those who are true believers in "Do unto others as you would have done to you" will redirect their contributions, prayers and worship. You are either with Christ's little children, or you are with Satan's pedophiles. Everyone has the right to choose for themselves. We will all be held accountable for our decision. \:D

It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

#84205 - 04/30/02 04:25 AM Re: Priest blames 6 yr old victim
getteddie Offline

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 226
Loc: Cub Hill, Md
It is time for the Vatican to demand that Cardinal Law step down. This man's poor judgement has reached an all time high. His lack of Christian empathy for these abuse victims is sickening.


#84206 - 04/30/02 07:27 AM Re: Priest blames 6 yr old victim
Broken Offline

Registered: 03/25/01
Posts: 273
Loc: Huntingtun Beach, CA, US
We need martial law. The guy out to be in jail by now. What possible cause could he have for delaying or softening his punishment?

Where the hell is the justice? When things get this bad, people need to take law into thier own hands, because there IS NO LAW. You cant be accoused of vigilantism in an anarchy controlled by american aristocrats. Policemen are worse than vigilantees.

From our positions, we feel there is nothing that can be done, because the power is in the hands of people who just dont give a shit. Its like arguing with a man who is trying to kill you. When are people going to wake up? If just people dont take the power for themselves, they will spend the rest of thier lives as victoms. It doesnt have to be violence, but jeesus, just DO something! Passive resistance, but resistance all the same.

When i fix my head a little more, im not going to spend the rest of my life listening to things like this and taking it on the ground. I am not going to waste my time watching television all day when i could be out in the world making a difference. Ill start picketing, protesting, get active somehow. If i get rich, i can use my money to help stop things like this. You dont even have to succeed, you just have to show people that your there trying. It makes all the diffence.


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