May 24, 2005

Priests’ attorney raps bishop

Times Leader


The attorney who represented two priests in a civil lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct with a minor issued a stinging rebuke of Bishop Joseph Martino on Monday

Attorney Sal Cognetti, who represented the Revs. Carlos Urrutigoity and Eric Ensey, was responding to a May 6 press release from the Diocese of Scranton that announced a settlement in the suit filed by a man identified as John Doe.

In the diocese press release, Martino was quoted as saying that Doe’s allegations “were very damaging. In view of the serious claims made by the young person and in light of the statements by the witnesses who supported his claim, it was determined that the just decision was to reach a settlement that will assist the victim and his family as they attempt to heal.”

Cognetti countered that there wasn’t “even one corroborative testimony in support of” Doe’s claims.

“It shocks me deeply as an attorney to see the prejudicial and antagonistic nature of the statements leveled against my clients by their own bishop, apparently giving credence to the allegations without any finding of fact whatsoever on his part (or a court’s part).”

Cognetti also claimed Martino “does not know the case, except from those who have, quite apparently, erroneously advised him on the matter,” and that the bishop “does not even know personally the priests he has so unjustly defamed. ...”

Posted by kshaw at May 24, 2005 04:21 PM