February 15, 2005

Judge refuses to delay clergy sex-abuse trial; mediation set to start

San Francisco Chronicle

Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

An Oakland judge rejected a motion by Catholic Church lawyers Monday seeking to delay a key clergy sexual abuse trial set for March 7.

The tentative decision by Judge Ronald Sabraw of Alameda County Superior Court puts new pressure on the church to reach an out-of-court settlement in mediation talks this week.

Allen Ruby, a San Jose lawyer representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, argued that a negligence claim filed by a former altar boy at St. Ignatius parish in Antioch was not a good test case to determine liability in scores of other lawsuits filed in Northern California. The suits were filed under a 2002 state law that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on decades-old claims of priestly abuse.

But Sabraw showed little interest in further delays in getting the first abuse claims before a jury.

Posted by kshaw at February 15, 2005 12:32 PM