The LA Times tracks a new phenomenon of priests accused of abuse suing their accusers. On the one hand, it may be retaliation designed to silence the accusers, and I might agree with that intepretation. If someone wants to clear their name, they should just follow through on the legal proceedings. If the priest is vindicated and wants to punish his accuser, he could file a lawsuit then, although it wouldn’t be a very good witness.
Now, a lawsuit has also been filed against SNAP, the victim support group, alleging libel through its news releases. That could have some merit (I don’t mean legally since I don’t know anything about the case, but logically). If the priest has been defamed by a third party then I think he could rightly sue them.
The fact is that this isn’t black and white. A guilty pervert could use this as a way to intimidate his victims, but an innocent man could also use it as a way to reclaim a reputation that is instantly besmirched upon the first hint of scandal. After all, priests are now guilty until proven innocent and thus we need to find a way to prevent any possible false accusation.
It’s a difficult situation and I don’t know that I have a solution.