Victims announce new court filing
By David Clohessy
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
July 2, 2014
Victims announce new court filing
They're part of 40+ who just won $1.1 million
Group also blasts bishop over counseling refusal
Veteran abuse advocate calls arbitrator's award “historic”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, victims of clergy sex abuse and their supporters will announce and give copies of their new court filing, which seeks to finalize the $1.1 million that an arbitrator has awarded them. They will also blast Kansas City's Catholic bishop for continuing to
--deny therapy for victims and/or put unnecessary restrictions on that therapy, and
– wage an “incredibly expensive” legal defense battle, instead of honoring the binding arbitration process.
A nationally known abuse victim and advocate will
--explain why their unprecedented lawsuit and the arbitrator's historic decision impacts victims across the country, and
urge those victims in other cities and states to consider filing similar suits to force bishops to live up to their child protection promises.
The group will also prod everyone who sees, suspects or suffers clergy sex crimes to keep coming forward and calling police.
Wednesday, July 2, 1:00 p.m.
Outside the KC Catholic diocesan chancery office/headquarters, 20 W. 9th Street in downtown Kansas City MO
Four-six individuals who were assaulted as kids by Kansas City priests, including at least one or two who are part of the unusual “breach of contract” lawsuit against KC Catholic officials. Joining them will be a few concerned Catholic lay people and members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
In what's being called an “unprecedented victory for victims” and a “novel approach to abuse prevention,” 40+ KC abuse victims have won in their “breach of contract” lawsuit against Bishop Robert Finn and the KC Catholic diocese. But despite a scathing report and a $1.1 million dollar award, Finn is taking a step that's also highly unusual: trying to overturn a decision reached in binding arbitration.
In response, the victims have filed an eight page rebuttal to Finn's request. (They will provide copies of the newly-filed court document at this event.) For the healing of victims and Catholics, the plaintiffs want Finn to drop his challenge, accept the outcome, and “enable everyone involved to move forward.”
And regardless of what happens in the legal arena, victims want Finn to reverse his continuing practice of refusing to pay for some victims' therapy or making unreasonable demands on that therapy which “deter others in pain from getting professional help,” according to SNAP.
In its 25 year history, SNAP says it's never seen another “breach of contract” case involving clergy sex abuse victims. The group believes it will inspire other victims to push for non-economic prevention provisions in new settlements. And SNAP hopes it will prod victims who have already settled with such provisions to investigate whether those provisions are being followed. If not, SNAP hopes those victims will file similar lawsuits.
The lead plaintiff in the case, victim Casey Walsh, will not be at the news conference but will be available by phone at 913 238 4150.
Attorneys for the diocese include David Frye (email@example.com, 816.460.5726, 816.460.5732) and Mara Cohara (firstname.lastname@example.org, 816.460.5760, 816.460.5413). Finn's attorney is Spencer Brown (816-421-4000, http://www.deacylaw.com/ourattorneys/spencer-j-brown/
Attorneys for the victims include Rebecca Randles (816 510 2704 cell, email@example.com), Sarah Brown (913 269 6226 cell, 816 931 9901, firstname.lastname@example.org), both of Kansas City MO and Gregg Meyers of St. Paul MN (843 324 1589 cell,·651 227 9990, email@example.com).
The arbitrator is Hollis Hanover of Kansas City, MO (816 942 2204, firstname.lastname@example.org). According to his website he spent 20 years as an insurance defense trial lawyer and ten years representing plaintiffs.