January 09, 2006

Top Vatican official testifies in sex abuse case


By Adam Tanner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - One of the Vatican's highest officials gave a legal deposition behind closed doors on Monday in the priest sex scandal that prompted the Catholic archdiocese in Portland, Oregon, to declare bankruptcy.

William Levada, the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer, was Archbishop of Portland from 1986-1995, and it is in that capacity he was subpoenaed to provide testimony on sex abuses of children by priests.

"We expect to find out what he knows and when he knew it," Michael Morey, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, told reporters as he headed into a deposition by lawyers, which could last all day.

Although the Roman Catholic Church has faced lawsuits alleging abuses across the United States, the Archdiocese of Portland was the first to seek bankruptcy protection from creditors. Since then the archdioceses in Spokane, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona, have also filed for bankruptcy.

Dressed in a suit, Levada went to a central San Francisco office building for the deposition. Eyewitnesses said he avoided a few protesters by using a side door.

Posted by kshaw at January 9, 2006 06:50 PM