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  Judge Denies Request
Plaintiff to Pay in Abuse Case

By Gary V. Murray
Telegram & Gazette
September 26, 2003

WORCESTER - A judge has denied a Houston lawyer's request that a lawyer for a priest accused in a civil lawsuit of sexual abuse be prohibited from taking part in depositions in the case.

Superior Court Judge Leila R. Kern has also ordered the plaintiff in the case, Timothy P. Staney, to pay costs and legal fees related to his failure to appear at a scheduled deposition last week and his lawyer's request for a protective order.

Mr. Staney, a Worcester resident, alleges in a lawsuit filed last year in Worcester Superior Court that he was sexually abused as a child and teenager by Raymond Tremblay, a religious education teacher at Holy Name of Jesus parish, and later by the Rev. Jean Paul Gagnon, who was associate pastor there.

Mr. Tremblay and Rev. Gagnon have denied the allegations.

Mr. Staney's lawyer, Daniel J. Shea of Houston, filed an emergency motion for a protective order on Sept. 12 asking that lawyer Edward P. Ryan Jr., who represents Rev. Gagnon, be barred from participating in depositions in the case or that depositions involving Mr. Ryan be conducted under direct court supervision.

Mr. Shea alleged that Mr. Ryan's conduct at a Sept. 11 deposition of Mr. Staney's father, Joseph C. Staney, was "outrageous" and "unprofessional." He also noted that Timothy Staney is under the care of a psychologist and psychiatrist.

In their written opposition to Mr. Shea's motion, Mr. Ryan and Joanne L. Goulka, the lawyer for the Worcester Diocese, asked that they be reimbursed for costs and fees incurred as a result of Mr. Shea's decision not to have Timothy Staney appear at a scheduled Sept. 15 deposition and the lawyer's motion for a protective order.

Ms. Goulka requested $750, and Mr. Ryan sought the sum of $620.

In her written opposition, Ms. Goulka said Mr. Ryan's questioning of Joseph Staney was "not abusive or unwarranted" and was "no more than skilled and incisive cross-examination ... ."

In denying Mr. Shea's motion on Sept. 18, Judge Kern ordered the payment of unspecified "costs and fees to each counsel for defendants."

Speaking from his office yesterday, Mr. Ryan said, "It's quite clear from the judge's ruling that Mr. Shea acted improperly when he refused to attend and present Mr. Timothy Staney for his deposition. It's also quite clear from the judge's denial of his motion for a protective order that he failed to establish credible and factual support for the allegations that he made in the context of his motion and otherwise in various public comments.

"I just want to make note of the fact that the court took the further step of sanctioning him by requiring him to pay legal fees both to Attorney Goulka and myself.

"I feel badly for Father Gagnon, who has denied these accusations from the beginning and who has steadfastly maintained they are frivolous and false, and I just note in passing that Mr. Tremblay has filed a counterclaim for defamation, and a separate lawsuit by Father Gagnon against Mr. Staney is something that's being contemplated," Mr. Ryan said.

 
 

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