January 18, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Sex suit against diocese heats up

SCRANTON (PA)
Times Leader

By MARK GUYDISH
mguydish@leader.net

SCRANTON In an increasingly heated civil lawsuit, the Diocese of Scranton contends its interpretation of the First Amendment justifies its refusal to hand over internal documents regarding sex abuse allegations.
Lawyers for the victim, identified only as John Doe, countered that the First Amendment is irrelevant to their request for the documents.
The First Amendment states in part that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the exercise thereof, the diocese has interpreted the clause as a separation of church and state.
The argument is unfolding in the U.S. District Court Middle District as part of a suit Doe brought against the diocese, the Rev. Albert Liberatore, former Bishop James Timlin and others. The civil suit was filed after Liberatore admitted to criminal charges that he had given Doe, then a minor, alcohol and molested him during overnight stays at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church rectory in Duryea from 1999 to 2004.

Posted by kshaw at January 18, 2006 07:52 AM