West Virginia Diocese Fights Case on Technicalities, not Merits

West Virginia Catholic officials are doing what Catholic officials have done for decades: claiming they cannot be sued for clergy sex crimes and cover ups. In a twist, this time the action was not filed by a victim, but rather the state’s top law enforcement officer. 

In a new court filing, Church officials claim Attorney General Patrick Morrisey lacks proper legal authority to go after the diocese for its "long pattern of covering up and keeping secret the criminal behavior of priests as it relates to sexual abuse of children."

While AG Morrisey has said that the motion "lacks merit," we find it disturbing that once again Catholic officials prefer to defend themselves on technicalities rather than to address the allegations of the lawsuit in open court. 

It would be reassuring – and shocking – to just hear one bishop, anywhere, say “We could battle to try to have this lawsuit thrown out of court. Or we could prove that we’re innocent. And that’s what we’re going to do, because we are indeed innocent of these charges.” 
 
Sadly, we have followed this crisis closely for three decades and we have never seen that approach, and we are certainly not seeing it today in West Virginia.

CONTACT: Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Regional Leader, (636-433-2511, snapjudy@gmail.com), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org , 517-974-9009)

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