May 06, 2006

Lawyer for priest sex-abuse victims says diocese is 'judge shopping'

Burlington Free Press

Published: Saturday, May 6, 2006
By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

The state's Roman Catholic Diocese is engaging in "judge shopping" by calling for the removal of the presiding judge in 15 priest sex-abuse cases now pending at Chittenden County Superior Court, the lawyer for the alleged victims charged Friday.

In a terse memorandum filed with the court Friday morning, attorney Jerome O'Neill wrote that the diocese wants to hide its role in protecting pedophile priests over the years and is angry that Judge Ben Joseph has ruled documents exposing the church's conduct be made public.

"Hiding information is deleterious to the victims, and if defendant diocese could think it through, deleterious to itself," O'Neill said in the memorandum. "The diocese in effect is judge shopping."

David Cleary, the diocese's lead attorney, said Friday evening in a telephone interview that O'Neill's judge-shopping allegation was offensive.

Posted by kshaw at May 6, 2006 09:32 AM