Trials & Litigation

Catholic Church Decides It Doesn't Need 'Altar Boy' Lawyers, Advocate Says; Victims Group Subpoenaed

A group representing victims of clergy abuse is being targeted with subpoenas seeking two decades of emails, including possibly correspondence with lawyers.

The Roman Catholic Church has obtained five subpoenas in Kansas City and St. Louis for records held by the group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the New York Times reports. One subpoena seeks documents regarding the lawyer for four plaintiffs suing a priest based on recovered memories, as well as documents mentioning the priest and repressed memories. The aim is to learn whether the lawyer violated a gag order. The other subpoena also seeks repressed memory information.

Yeshiva law professor and victims advocate Marci Hamilton told the Times that the subpoenas are part of a campaign to silence SNAP. William Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, viewed the action as part of a growing consensus by bishops “that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

A spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops denied, however, that there was any national strategy to get more aggressive, the story says.

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