October 04, 2005

Church wants trial moved

Loveland Reporter-Herald

The Associated Press

DENVER — In its first official response to nearly a dozen claims of clergy sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Denver on Monday asked the case be moved to federal court because of constitutional questions surrounding claims it did nothing regarding a priest who had been accused of abusing children.

At least 10 men have filed lawsuits in Denver District Court alleging they were abused as boys by Harold Robert White starting in the 1960s. The lawsuits name only the archdiocese as the defendant.

In court documents filed in U.S. District Court regarding two of the lawsuits, the church asks the cases be heard in federal court because the issues are “inextricably intertwined with the First Amendment,” which guarantees the right to freely practice religion. It said a judicial evaluation of the archdiocese’s policies regarding clergy misconduct requires the court to pass judgment on the archdiocese’s canonical function as the chief ecclesiastical executive and chief ecclesiastical legislator.

Posted by kshaw at October 4, 2005 02:53 PM