A federal judge has fined a New York attorney for filing frivolous lawsuits against dioceses and bishops accusing them of violating racketeering laws.
In a harshly worded ruling made public today, Judge Paul Crotty took New York lawyer John Aretakis to task for bringing a series of suits claiming the church’s actions amounted to racketeering.
Each of those lawsuits were subsequently thrown out by judges who said the allegations, even if true, didn’t violate racketeering laws designed to deal with criminal enterprises like the Mafia.
The fine came with another tossed-out lawsuit involving a familiar name: Fr. Robert Hoatson, “a Newark, New Jersey priest [...] who claimed he was forced out of a parochial school job for being critical of the church’s handling of abuse cases.” It’s a little more than that.
Hoatson was in the news last February, when I blogged about his claims that he had evidence that several bishops were conspiring and covering up abuse for fear of having their own secrets exposed. Here’s what I said at the time:
Hoatson himself is questioned as to his reliability. The Newark archdiocese says he was placed on administrative leave because he abandoned his parish duties. Of the homosexuality charges, he says in his lawsuit that he has no problem with “consensual, adult private sexual behavior by these defendants.” As a Catholic priest, shouldn’t he have some problem with sexual behavior outside the bounds of marriage by a cleric and homosexual behavior at that? Additionally he’s represented by one of those odious and notorious plaintiffs’ attorneys, John Aretakis.
I said at the time that I would file it under “keep an eye on this.” I’m glad to see my instincts were right. Hoatson has commented on this blog and sent me emails a couple of times since then and they tell me that I was right to be wary.
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