February 04, 2006

Clergy-abuse suits sent to state court

Rocky Mountain News

By Karen Abbott, Rocky Mountain News
February 4, 2006
A federal judge sent clergy-abuse lawsuits filed by 24 people against the Archdiocese of Denver back to state court Friday and accused both sides of "forum-shopping."

Colorado U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock rejected arguments by the archdiocese that the lawsuits should proceed in federal court because the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion.

The archdiocese's attorney, Charles Goldberg, said the plaintiffs' claims address relationships between the church and its ministers, between the church and its parishioners, internal church communications and church governance - all matters, he said, that in the past have been held "sacrosanct" and not subject to government interference.

Plaintiffs' attorney Adam Horowitz argued that the First Amendment does not exempt any religious organization from liability for sexual assaults on children.

Posted by kshaw at February 4, 2006 07:47 AM