Suing the pervert clergy

Suing the pervert clergy

This is a switch: a church suing sex-abusing clergy. A Canadian Protestant church is suing the former youth pastor for abusing a teen. The guy being sued isn’t called “Rev.” so I’m not sure if he’s equivalent to clergy or if he’s laity. In either case, I don’t expect we’ll be seeing Catholic dioceses suing pervert priests any time soon.

Curious though: What if members of a parish where a pervert priest preyed on the youth sued him? Wonder what would happen then?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • If the youth minister has already left the employment of the particular congregation, the lines between the congregation’s assets and the assets of the minister are much more clearly drawn in a protestant situation than in Catholic ones.

    We have this awful snarl that no one can figure out, so if a parishoner sued a priest, who knows who’d be giving money to whom.  The only clear-cut payment out would be to the lawyer,  providing he was a protestant or a non-tithing Catholic! 

    It’s all very confusing.

    Actually, I think most Catholics would be very loathe to sue the church—a little like suing one’s mother, I’d think.  That’s how come we get so steamed when things go bad.

  • You’re not making a distinction between the Church and the priest. I’m talking about suing the priest himself, not the Church. Sure, the priest doesn’t have deep pockets, but the goal wouldn’t necessarily be to get money out of him.

  • I’ve wondered why we have not seen lawsuits against the doctors and clinics that deemed treated perverts have been “cured.” 

    Seems to me that both the Church and the victims could make a case for malpractice or something.

  • Dom, if you libel or slander someone in print, who is going to get sued? – likely you and your publication, or maybe just the publication. But who would defend you? Likely your publication would defend you. Unless of course you deliberatly broke some written rule.

  • Except that the alleged libel or slander would have been within the performance of my duties. If however, while reporting a story, I did something outside the performance of my duties while doing my job—say while I was doing an interview I stole something from someone’s home—the person could choose to sue me, although they’d likely sue my publication too.

    But the only reason to sue the publication is because they would have the deeper pockets. There is nothing preventing the aggrieved party from suing just me.