Judge finds Catholic Church can be held responsible for abuse

You’re probably familiar with the Vatican claim that they are not to be blamed for abusive priests that sexually assaulted any children (which allows them to claim zero responsibility for the things people do while in their employ). What you may not be aware of, however, in that in July of this year, they attempted to use this defense legally, and it seems to have backfired. When the Church attempted to use this “We didn’t do nothing” defense in court against a woman who had been abused by Father Wilfred Baldwin in the 1970′s, the judge would have none of it.

The judge said although there had been no formal contract between the church and the priest, the late Father Baldwin, there were “crucial features” that should be recognised.

It is the first time a court has ruled that the relationship between a Catholic priest and his bishop is akin to an employment relationship. It sets a precedent for similar cases, by providing further guidance for such trials in the future, while also putting the church in uncharted territory

The landmark case has just rejected this argument, paving the way for other victims of abuse to start holding the Holy See responsible for their complicity in the abuse. In other words, it means that the rich coffers of the Vatican are up for grabs for their many victims who cannot seek any other form of justice (Father Baldwin had been dead for many years by the time the trial happened). The war isn’t over yet, folks, since they can appeal the decision. Still, I feel as though we’ve won this battle.

Comments (1)

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    Bill Donohue hitting 24/7 cable news shows in 5…4…3…2…

    This should definitely put the CC on its heels. They certainly can’t claim priests aren’t employees. If they weren’t, why are they preaching in and residing in any given church? Why are they getting all the gifts and handouts they do get? I’ve seen priests and bishops in their homes when I was a very faithful practicing Catholic altar boy in my youth, and many of these guys live quite well (certainly better than I did with my parents), even if they are tied to the church they lead for years at a time.

    The Vatican has nowhere to run on this issue: Priests are their employees, from training through delivery of mass and the sacraments. I’m sure they will try to get around this if the appeal fails, using something to the effect of “sexual abuse != expected priestly performance, ergo such crimes broke their employment contract, ergo the CC is not responsible”, but then there’s that whole moving the predators around thing…

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