October 08, 2005

Judge says he'll set dates for trials

The Press-Enterprise

01:14 AM PDT on Saturday, October 8, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

LOS ANGELES - Citing months of fruitless settlement talks, a judge said Friday that he will start setting trial dates for some of the 140 clergy sexual-abuse lawsuits targeting the San Bernardino and San Diego Catholic dioceses.

Attorneys for the alleged molestation victims asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz on Friday to schedule at least 15 cases for trial by July, including a lawsuit filed by 20 men who claim they were abused by Edward Anthony Rodrigue.

Rodrigue, a twice-convicted child molester, now defrocked, was a priest in Coachella and Ontario in the 1970s.

Church lawyers argued at a hearing Friday that they would need substantially more than nine months to prepare for the trials.

Michael Webb, the lawyer for the Diocese of San Diego tapped to speak on behalf of both dioceses, cautioned Fromholz not to move forward on more than eight or 10 cases as he described the diocese's finances as "critical."

Posted by kshaw at October 8, 2005 07:06 AM