Boston Church seeks protection from abuse lawsuits

 

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has requested a court dismiss hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, arguing protection under the US constitution's guarantee of religious freedom.

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I wish to emphasize that the archdiocese remains firmly committed to reaching a fair and equitable settlement for those who have been harmed by clergy sexual abuse
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Bishop Richard Lennon

"Although serving this motion is necessary, I wish to emphasize that the archdiocese remains firmly committed to reaching a fair and equitable settlement for those who have been harmed by clergy sexual abuse," Dr Lennon said.

"I believe that these cases are best resolved through a comprehensive settlement and so I renew my request that all parties agree to a moratorium on all discovery and court proceedings in order that all parties may actively pursue such a settlement."

Church officials said the motion was being filed to satisfy insurance companies' requirements that the church avail itself of every significant defense before contributing to the settlement of claims.

Dr Lennon said in his statement that he had given authorization for certain properties owned and operated by the archdiocese to be marketed, in order to make funds available for the compensation.

The archdiocese is facing more than 400 lawsuits filed by alleged victims of abuse, who claim Church leaders protected priests and covered up their activities for decades.

The multiple suits have left the Boston Church facing financial ruin and the prospect of filing for bankruptcy.

Dr Lennon took over the running of the archdiocese from Cardinal Bernard Law who resigned ten days ago.

AFP