By MICHELLE R. SMITH
Associated Press / September 24, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island Superior Court judge heard arguments Monday on whether to unseal documents in a lawsuit contesting the will of an elderly widow who gave some $60 million to the Legion of Christ, a disgraced Roman Catholic religious order.
Bernard Jackvony, a lawyer for the niece of the late Gabrielle Mee, argued to Judge Michael Silverstein that it is in the public interest to release the documents, while Joseph Avonzato, a lawyer for the Legion of Christ, said that would compromise the order’s right to a fair trial. The judge didn’t immediately issue a decision.
Pope Benedict XVI took over the Legion in 2010 after a Vatican investigation determined its founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, had sexually molested seminarians and fathered three children by two women.
Silverstein this month threw out the lawsuit, saying the niece, Mary Lou Dauray, did not have standing to sue, though he wrote in his decision that Mee had been unduly persuaded to give the Legion her money.
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