Minneapolis attorney seeks justice for victims of Catholic church sexual abuse
By Alex Lehnert
December 29, 2018
A Minneapolis attorney has found himself on the world stage in a case he believes is a first of its kind.
Patrick Noaker is currently fighting Vatican City and the Catholic Church in the hopes of justice for victims of sexual abuse.
It’s a Vatican trial set to determine the punishment for a former high-ranking Cardinal within the church.
Noaker says his client, James Grime, was sexually abused by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The testimony happened this week and those documents will be taken straight to Vatican City.
Noaker has been practicing law for years, routinely defending victims of sexual abuse. He says this trial is unlike anything he’s ever experienced.
“It’s very formal, there is a lot of paperwork that goes with it,” Noaker said. “It has testimony like every other trial.”
His client, Grime, says he was sexually abused by the now ex-Cardinal when he was just 11 years old.
“So, McCarrick used to take him into another room, and the first thing he would have him do as part of the confession is he would touch him, improperly… sexually,” Noaker said.
Grime testified Thursday in front of a representative for the Vatican in New York. He recounted moments Noaker says have haunted him for years.
“That is why, the Catholic church, sexual abuse is a crisis,” Noaker said. “Because they didn’t call the police, they covered it up, they concealed it. They valued their Catholic brand and fundraising over children. This is their fault.”
Noaker believes McCarrick is the highest ranking Catholic official to be tried in a Vatican trial for childhood sexual abuse. Given that, he believes the procedures established in this trial will be used in future litigation for priests and Cardinals.
“I hope that they are starting to get the message that this is important and this destroys lives,” he said. ”So if they don’t manage and try to root out the evil that is in the church it’s going to hurt a lot of people.”
After Thursday’s testimony, Noaker says he’s optimistic something will happen in this trial and in others around the world like it.
“To be engaged in a process like this that is literally setting the standard for the world is humbling. I hope I’ve done it right,” he said.