Thursday, July 29, 2010

‘Franciscans have no interest in delaying resolution,’ attorney says

‘Franciscans have no interest in delaying resolution,’ attorney says
Posted by SBNN on Jul 28th, 2010 and filed under NOW.

Santa Barbara – 6:32 pm - The San Francisco attorney representing priests in the fight over the release of their personnel files has provided a glimpse into where the case may be headed if they lose the appeal.

Doe 1 vs. the Franciscan Friars, Inc., will be heard in the 2nd District Court of Appeal Friday, July 30, in Los Angeles.

A part of the case involves the now closed, St. Anthony’s Seminary in Santa Barbara.

Brian Brosnahan represents the Franciscan Friars of California, Inc.


(Brian Brosnahan/PHOTO-Courtesy law firm website)
Brosnhan told THESBNN.COM, the battle over certain private records, could make its way to the California Supreme Court.

Some of the people abused by priests here reached out of court financial settlements several years ago.

But the victims’ Santa Barbara attorney says, there are unsettling matters that remain.

Tim Hale’s clients want the public to know what happened to them — as disturbing as it is — and hear it from those they call the perpetrators.

They’re talking about the church’s official records of the priests who committed the acts and those who were part of the cover up.

Survivors of abuse say it’s their right and it will help protect children in the future.

The judge who handed down the ruling 3 years ago, agrees.

Judge Peter Lichtman said, “The rights of privacy must give way to the state’s interest in protecting its children from sexual abuse.”

That meant the personnel files of Roman Catholic clergy accused of molesting children were to be made public.

It hasn’t happened.

The ruling also covers clerics never charged with a crime and legal claims against them not proven.

Joey Piscitelli successfully sued The Salesians of St. John Bosco, whose Western Province is based in San Francisco.

Piscitelli won a $600,000 jury award.

However, like many who speak openly about abuse, he says, “it wasn’t about the money.”

The married father told THESBNN.COM, many Catholics remain in denial about scandal and others Catholic, Protestant and everyone else, simply want it to go away.

It hasn’t.

Piscitelli says laying out what happened will help survivors heal and play a huge role in protecting communities and preventing it from happening again.

Brosnahan seems to disagree.

“Releasing the psychotherapy files will not aid in healing,” he said.

He goes on to say, “The Franciscans have no interest in delaying resolution of this issue.

There were many steps in the trial court, and the biggest delay on appeal was caused by the plaintiffs, who took almost 5 months to file their briefs.

The documents at issue on the appeal do not discuss where the friars have been relocated.

An appeal to the California Supreme Court is possible since the issue before the court has importance going far beyond this case and these documents.

The Franciscans are not objecting to releasing the other parts of the personnel files, and releasing the psychotherapy files will not aid in healing.

But it would create a dangerous precedent that would make it difficult to protect the public from sex offenders in the future.”

Some priests who are appealing are represented individually by other counsel.

Attorneys on both sides say it could be weeks, perhaps even months, before a ruling is handed down.

© 2010 The Santa Barbara News Network

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