SUPREME COURT: The Vatican Is Not Immune To U.S. Pedophilia Lawsuits
Wow. The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the Vatican, which was attempting to shield itself from child molestation lawsuits in the United States.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Monday to consider whether the Vatican has legal immunity over the sexual abuse of minors by priests in the United States, allowing a lawsuit filed in 2002 to go forward. The nation's highest court, asked to rule on a U.S. appeals court decision that cleared the way for the lawsuit to proceed, rejected the Vatican's immunity appeal without comment. The lawsuit, filed by a plaintiff identified only as John Doe, claimed he was sexually abused on several occasions in the mid-1960s when he was 15 or 16 by a Roman Catholic priest named Father Andrew Ronan. According to court documents, Ronan molested boys in the mid-1950s as a priest in Ireland and then in Chicago before his transfer to a church in Portland, Oregon, where he allegedly abused the victim who filed the lawsuit. Ronan died in 1992. The Vatican claimed immunity under a U.S. law, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, that allows foreign states to avoid being sued in court. But the law contains exceptions. The appeals court cited one of those, ruling the lawsuit has sufficiently alleged that Ronan was an employee of the Vatican acting within the scope of his employment under Oregon law.The lawyer for the above-cited Oregon case says he plans to depose Pope Benedict. "I won't start with him; I'm going to work my way up. But this ruling gives me the ability to depose anybody within the organization who has knowledge about the events."
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) reacts: "The Supreme Court's decision gives hope to hundreds of thousands of clergy sex abuse victims across the globe who know lies remain under wraps at the Vatican and will only be unearthed through persistent action by secular justice officials and systems."