Clergy Sex Case Vs. Vatican Moves Forward

By Jeff Anderson & Associates
March 3, 2009

[the court decision ]

Man molested by priest can sue the Pope, judges rule

It's first time an individual victim wins the right to go after Holy See

And it's the 2nd time in 3 months that a US appeals court sides with an American victim

PORTLAND, Ore., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Jeff Anderson & Associates: The Vatican can be sued for a pedophile priest's crimes, according to a new appeals court ruling issued today.

In a unanimous 60 page decision, a three judge panel in Portland, Oregon ruled that a man who was sexually assaulted in the 1960s by Fr. Andrew Ronan can pursue his civil lawsuit for damages against the Holy See.

"In a rigid hierarchy like the Catholic church, decisions come from Rome, so it's crucial that Rome be held responsible for on-going cover ups of clergy sex crimes," said St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents the alleged victim. "This ruling sends a clear signal that anyone who enables American kids to be molested will face legal consequences. It will help prevent future child assaults and cover ups of those assaults. It also signals that the Vatican is not above the law."

Ronan is accused of molesting kids in his native Ireland. He was then sent to Chicago, where he allegedly abused again, and finally transferred to an Oregon Catholic school, where he reportedly assaulted the victim in this case.

Ronan is now deceased.

The case was argued by Professor Marci Hamilton, a Cardozo law school faculty member.

Defending the Vatican was attorney Jeff Lena of Berkeley, CA.


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