Priest’s Lawyer Files Motion against Plaintiff’s Lawyer

By Judy L. Thomas
Kansas City Star
July 11, 2011

The attorney for a priest recently removed from his duties has asked a judge to restrict the public comments of lawyers suing the priest over sexual abuse.

A recent news release about a lawsuit filed against the Rev. Michael Tierney, a priest in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, could put his chances of a fair trial at risk, according to a motion filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

“These public statements are meant to prejudice Father Tierney such that he cannot receive a fair trial,” the motion says. “The press release…demonstrates an attempt to try this case in the press and cause severe prejudice to Father Tierney.”

The motion was filed last week citing a June 30 lawsuit against Tierney, saying that the day the suit was filed, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Preists “made extrajudicial statements in a press release.”

“The press release refers to Father Tierney repeatedly as a ‘predator’ and links Father Tierney with other ‘predators’ because he happened to work at the same parish of other accused priests,” the motion says.

The news release referred readers to the plaintiff’s lawyer, Rebecca Randles, and provided her telephone numbers, which “demonstrates the close relationship between plaintiff and SNAP,” the motion says.

Randles called the action “a strong-arm tactic” by the defense.

“They want a gag order,” she said. “It says I can’t assist any third party in making derogatory comments or criticizing the actions or tactics of the other side. I can’t talk at a press conference, I can’t talk to the press, I can’t talk to SNAP.”

Tierney’s attorney, Brian Madden, on Monday declined comment on the motion. In a previous interview, he said that Tierney “denies all the allegations and has no memory of that.”

A hearing on the motion has not yet been scheduled.

The June 30 lawsuit — the second to be filed against Tierney in nine months alleging sexual abuse — was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court by Edward Sandridge, 52. It accuses Tierney of sexually abusing Sandridge at a YMCA in the early 1970s and says the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph knew of Tierney’s misconduct with children and covered it up.

On June 2, Bishop Robert Finn removed Tierney from his duties as pastor of Christ the King parish in Kansas City and from all other public ministry.


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