January 16, 2006

Bishop, diocese dispute efforts

Detroit Free Press

January 16, 2006


Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton said Sunday that he'd support new Michigan laws to give victims more time to sue for monetary damages over long-ago sexual abuse by predatory Catholic priests -- legislation that's opposed by the state's top Catholic officials.

But Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman Ned McGrath suggested Sunday that Gumbleton is being hypocritical, and said that Gumbleton authorized church lawyers to invoke the same statute of limitations law he's now criticizing to block lawsuits which contended local church leaders, including Gumbleton, failed to monitor a onetime priest accused of abusing youngsters decades ago.

"I'm surprised by Bishop Gumbleton's stand on this," McGrath said. "He's authorized the archdiocese lawyers to use the statute of limitations stance on his defense."

Gumbleton disputed McGrath's statement, saying that defense was invoked "without my knowledge" and added that he had no oversight of the priest identified as an abuser in the lawsuits.

Last week, Gumbleton said he'd been inappropriately touched by a priest when he was a teenager attending Detroit's old Sacred Heart Seminary high school in the mid-1940s.

Posted by kshaw at January 16, 2006 05:30 AM