January 12, 2006

Judge rules lawsuits can go ahead


1/12/2006, 12:05 a.m. PT
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) A federal judge has cleared the way for lawsuits claiming sexual abuse by priests to move forward after keeping them on hold since July 2004 when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland became the first diocese in the nation to declare bankruptcy.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris will allow trials to proceed for as many as 100 alleged victims, including the one whose pending trial forced Archbishop John Vlazny to decide to seek protection from creditors.

A man identified by the initials "C.B." claims he was molested in the early 1980s in Seaside by the Rev. Maurice Grammond, who was accused of abuse by more than 50 alleged victims.

The latest complaint naming Grammond was filed Wednesday.

The bankruptcy blocked the C.B. trial. But court records indicate that attorneys were prepared to argue that archdiocese officials knew about Grammond sexually abusing children for more than 20 years and responded by moving him from parish to parish.

Church officials have denied moving Grammond in response to allegations of misconduct. Church lawyers have attacked the evidence, calling much of it unreliable and uncorroborated.

Posted by kshaw at January 12, 2006 07:18 AM