May 06, 2005

Abuse suit against diocese OK'd

JACKSON (MS)
The Clarion-Ledger

By Jimmie E. Gates
jgates@clarionledger.com

The state Supreme Court Thursday cleared the way for a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a priest to go forward against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jackson.

But the church says the suit violates the statute of limitations and will attempt to have it thrown out.

Three brothers Kenneth Morrison of Chicago, Thomas Morrison of Jackson and Francis Morrison Jr. of Texas and their mother, Dorothy Morrison of Madison, filed the $48 million lawsuit in 2002 in Hinds County Circuit Court alleging a priest sexually abused the brothers more than 30 years ago.

The high court's 84-page opinion said the First Amendment does not protect the church from civil litigation.

"We find no credibility in the argument that immunity from liability for damages caused by pedophiles should be grounded in religious faith, doctrine, practice or belief, regardless of any theory under which that argument is advanced," Justice Jess Dickinson said, writing for the court.

Posted by kshaw at May 6, 2005 05:14 AM