Victims Disappointed with Ag Meeting

By Robin Washington
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
July 25, 2003

Leaders of clergy sexual-abuse victims groups met with Attorney General Tom Reilly yesterday and got a promise for future sessions.

The meeting, held in the wake of Reilly's report on the Boston archdiocese abuse scandal, gave the AG and his staff a chance to explain why the 16-month probe ended without any indictments.

"The AG really emphasized they had looked at all possibilities from all legal directions," said Susan Gallagher of the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors.

But Ann Hagan Webb of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said she remains unconvinced that accessory-after-the-fact laws couldn't be used to prosecute church leaders. "They kept saying we couldn't prove that their intent was to avoid the law. Their intent was to avoid scandal to the church. Well, hello?"

David Clohessy, SNAP's national director, said the group promised to help him push for new state racketeering and obstruction of justice laws, though Reilly remained cool on efforts to extend the statute of limitations in sexual-abuse cases.

Clohessy said he was also troubled by Reilly's hopefulness for change once Archbishop-designate Sean O'Malley arrives.

Also yesterday, the National Catholic Reporter called for the resignations of church leaders singled out in Reilly's report: Bishops John McCormack, of Manchester, N.H., Thomas Daily, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Robert Banks in Green Bay, Wis., and William Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., along with Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans.

"Somehow, it never occurred to these men that child rape is a crime that should be reported to the police, whether or not members of the clergy were `mandatory reporters' under the law," the editorial in the Aug. 1 edition states. "That loophole became a noose for the 1,000-plus children abused by Boston priests."

In the legal arena, a Hartford Superior Court judge on Wednesday denied a request by plaintiffs' lawyers in the Gregory Ford case for psychiatric records of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley at the Institute for Living. The decision counters that of Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney


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