- Unprecedented victory for abuse victims
- Judge orders KC diocese to go to arbitration
- Lawsuit is believed to be 1st of its kind in the US
- Church has allegedly broken the 2008 settlement deal
- Almost 50 men and women who sued pushed prevention steps
- Finn signed agreement, but still kept one accused priest on the job
- And he and his staff kept child porn of another priest hidden for months
At a news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their attorney will disclose that they
--have won a key ruling from a KC judge in an unprecedented lawsuit and
--expect to sit down soon with KC’s Catholic bishop in arbitration over his alleged violations of a 2008 agreement made with 47 men and women who were sexually assaulted by KC priests.
Wednesday, June 13 at 11:15 a.m.
Law office of attorney Rebecca Randles, VFW Building, 406 West 34th Street in Kansas City MO
A few victims who were part of a landmark 2008 child sex abuse settlement against the KC bishop and diocese (and are part of the new suit), along with their attorneys
In 2008, 47 victims resolved their clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against the KC MO diocese and KC Bishop Robert Finn. As part of that deal, they insisted that KC church officials commit to 19 non-economic reform steps. In an unprecedented move last October, 44 of those victims filed a civil suit charging that the diocese broke multiple sections of the agreement a number of times. Some of the violations, the suit says, involved church officials' decision to keep two accused priests in ministry (Fr. James Tierney and Fr. Shawn Ratigan) despite credible allegations against them and by not reporting suspicions and knowledge of child sex crimes promptly to police and prosecutors.
Yesterday, the victims’ attorney learned that Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Peggy McGraw issued a four –page ruling in their favor and has ordered the parties to arbitration. The arbitrator is Hollis Hanover of KC.
The suit also says the diocese hasn't honored its pledge to defrock four suspended or credibly accused clerics.
The 19 non-economic steps were a written contract, the victims maintain. It contains a provision that mandated arbitration if any dispute about implementation arose. (Earlier in 2011, the victims asked for arbitration but the Finn has refused, which they say forced them to file suit.)
Increasingly, clergy sex victims across the US are pushing for and winning similar abuse prevention agreements. That's because victims now realize that most dioceses - with extensive wealth and insurance - aren't reforming just because they settle civil lawsuits. So more and more often, as part of settlement discussions, victims are devising and fighting for specific commitments by church officials to improve how they deal with abuse cases in the future.
According to a Boston-based research group, at least 23 KC Catholic clerics stand accused, often several times, of molesting kids. Yet not one of them has ever faced criminal prosecution (with the recent exception of Ratigan, who is jailed on child porn charges).
The victims' attorneys are Rebecca Randles of Kansas City MO and Jeff Anderson of St. Paul MN.
Attorney Rebecca Randles of Kansas City 816 931 9901, 816 5102704 cell, attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul 651 227 9990, 612 817 8665 cell, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, Mike Hunter 913 634 6490,firstname.lastname@example.org