Judge Allows Delay of Clergy Abuse Trial

The Associated Press, carried in Lexington Herald-Leader
August 5, 2004

BURLINGTON (KY) - The nation's first class-action lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese over clergy sexual abuse is headed for a January trial if settlement talks fail.

Judge John Potter moved the trial date from Oct. 25 to Jan. 10 during a hearing yesterday in Boone County Circuit Court. He told the attorneys for the Diocese of Covington and the plaintiffs that he wants them to concentrate on the mediation process instead of trial preparations.

The lawsuit, certified as a class action last October, was brought on behalf of victims from the past 50 years in the diocese, which included the eastern half of Kentucky until the Lexington diocese formed in 1988. It accuses the diocese of mishandling allegations against its priests.

Both sides began mediation in June with Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the government fund for families of Sept. 11 victims.

The judge granted a joint motion which said "the parties remain hopeful that all of the claims can be resolved through the mediation process" and asked to postpone a pretrial hearing and submit a confidential report on the status of the mediation. The judge asked for that by Sept. 1.

Potter scheduled a pretrial hearing for Sept. 20.


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