Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Former Chicago priest sex abuse case to move forward

Former Chicago priest sex abuse case to move forward

June 28, 2010

ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court won’t stop a lawsuit that accuses the Vatican of transferring a priest from Ireland to Chicago to Oregon despite repeated accusations of sexual abuse.

The Vatican wanted the federal courts to throw out the lawsuit that seeks to hold the Roman Catholic Church responsible for moving the Rev. Andrew Ronan from place to place despite the sex abuse accusations.

» Click to enlarge image The case was brought more than eight years ago on behalf of a plaintiff who alleged that he was sexually molested on several occasions when he was 15 or 16 by the Rev. Andrew Ronan.

Sovereign immunity laws hold that a sovereign state — including the Vatican — is generally immune from lawsuits.

But lower federal courts have ruled in this case that there could be an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act that could affect the Vatican. A judge ruled there was enough of a connection between the Vatican and Ronan for him to be considered a Vatican employee under Oregon law, and that ruling was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sacramento.

The case was brought more than eight years ago on behalf of a plaintiff who alleged that he was sexually molested on several occasions when he was 15 or 16 by the Rev. Andrew Ronan.

Before he was transferred to Oregon, Ronan had been moved out of two previous parishes -- in Ireland and Chicago's St. Philip, which is now closed -- after he allegedly sexually molested children.

According to court documents, Ronan began abusing boys in the mid-1950s as a priest in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland.

Ronan was later moved to St. Albert’s Church in Portland, Ore., where he was accused of abusing the person who filed the lawsuit now under appeal. Ronan died in 1992.

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