November 17, 2005

Judge orders LA monsignor to submit to deposition questions


LOS ANGELES A judge has ruled that a monsignor in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles must submit to deposition questions in the far-reaching clergy abuse case.

In his order, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz writes that Monsignor Michael Lenihan cannot assert "clergy privilege" to avoid revealing whether he heard confessions of a deacon accused of sexual abuse.

Fromholz writes that "the penitential privilege protects 'a communication made in confidence'" but "does not prohibit the disclosure of the fact that the communication occurred."

The church argued that all communications between a priest and a bishop are privileged. A church attorney said some priests might continue to refuse to answer questions despite the ruling.

Posted by kshaw at November 17, 2005 11:05 AM