Tort Law

Judge Rules for Vatican in Suit Seeking Damages for Priest Molestation

A federal judge in Portland, Ore., has ruled for the Vatican in one of the first cases seeking to hold it liable for alleged molestation by a priest.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled the Vatican didn’t employ the priest and dismissed it as a defendant, the Oregonian reports. The priest, the Rev. Andrew Ronan, was transferred from Ireland to Chicago and then Portland.

The suit claimed Ronan molested a teen in 1965 and 1966. His religious order remains as a defendant.

Jeffrey Anderson, the lawyer for the plaintiff, said he would appeal to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court ruled in 2005 that sovereign immunity didn’t protect the Vatican.

Related coverage: “Sex Abuse Victims Sue Vatican, Claim Officials Knew Year Earlier of Abuse”

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