April 08, 2005

Vatican asks Louisville judge to dismiss suit



LOUISVILLE - The Vatican has responded to a federal lawsuit in Louisville over priest molestation cases and says the suit is flawed and should be dismissed.

Lawyers for the Holy See, the legal identity of the Vatican, allege several problems with the lawsuit in filings in U.S. District Court this week. It is the church's first in-depth response.

The Vatican asks Judge John G. Heyburn II to dismiss the suit, which Louisville lawyer William McMurry filed last year on behalf of three men alleging abuse as far back as 1928. The lawsuit alleges a cover-up to protect priests who molested American children.

McMurry, who in 2003 represented 243 abuse victims in reaching a $25.7 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Louisville, is seeking to have the suit certified as a class-action case, alleging that "several thousand" victims exist nationwide.

The case is the first sexual-abuse suit to name the Vatican as sole defendant and would be the first class-action suit against the Vatican regarding sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at April 8, 2005 04:36 AM