Thursday, August 07, 2003
As Andrew Sullivan says: "AH-NULD!: I interrupt my break to say simply: Yay! A pro-gay, pro-choice, hard-ass Republican! An Eagle has landed. Now let him soar."
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Bekki: if this is legit does this qualify for RICO prosecution?
"(CBS) For decades, priests in this country abused children in parish after parish while their superiors covered it all up. Now it turns out the orders for this cover up were written in Rome at the highest levels of the Vatican. How does the RICO statute apply to international organizations?
CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales has uncovered a church document kept secret for 40 years.
The confidential Vatican document, obtained by CBS News, lays out a church policy that calls for absolute secrecy when it comes to sexual abuse by priests - anyone who speaks out could be thrown out of the church.
The policy was written in 1962 by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani.
The document, once "stored in the secret archives" of the Vatican, focuses on crimes initiated as part of the confessional relationship and what it calls the "worst crime": sexual assault committed by a priest" or "attempted by him with youths of either sex or with brute animals."
Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases "in the most secretive way...restrained by a perpetual silence...and everyone (including the alleged victim) ...is to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office...under the penalty of excommunication."
This article from a little over a year ago covers a previous RICO lawsuit and the associated difficulties. However...
"Jeff Grell, a Minneapolis attorney and nationally recognized RICO expert, has not seen the specifics of the lawsuit, but says there are several likely pitfalls in this lawsuit. This memo (if legitimate) certainly fits that bill. There are a few other problems with a prosecution but I would be really surprised if this didn't make it to a courtroom.
"The plaintiff has to have proof that there was a directive from a fairly high-up source of authority, an official policy adopted by the institution itself to keep this activity quiet, with knowledge that this was potentially criminal," Grell says. "Just because other bishops may have known and tried to protect the individual wrongdoer doesn't mean the Church itself can be held liable."
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