Diocese of Erie seeks stay in federal abuse suit as Pa. Supreme Court takes up big appeal

Erie Times-News

October 13, 2020

By Ed Palattella

The Catholic Diocese of Erie, with administrative offices at St. Mark Catholic Center in Erie, is facing a number of lawsuits claiming cover-ups of clergy sexual abuse.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 20 will hear arguments in a clergy sex abuse case whose outcome will greatly affect abuse lawsuits and Roman Catholic dioceses statewide, including the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

The case, which claims a cover-up, is so significant that the Catholic Diocese of Erie wants a federal judge to stay a similar abuse suit against the diocese until the state Supreme Court issues a ruling in the other case in several months.

A decision in the Supreme Court case, which involves the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, will either allow or prohibit hundreds of plaintiffs from pursuing fraud-related suits in court over claims that the dioceses covered up abuse. The financial ramifications of the decision will be enormous for the plaintiffs and the Catholic Diocese of Erie and the other dioceses.

Waiting for the state Supreme Court to rule makes the most sense, the Catholic Diocese of Erie said in a filing on Friday. The diocese asked U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter to grant a stay in the abuse case filed against the diocese in U.S. District Court in Erie.

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