Clergy Sexual Abuse: New Book Confirms the Need For Lawsuits

Timothy_lyttonProfessor Timothy Lytton (Albany) has published Holding Bishops Accountable:  How Lawsuits Helped the Catholic Church Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse (Harvard University Press 2008), available here.  The abstract (from SSRN) reads:

The sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy is arguably the most acute crisis Catholicism has faced since the Reformation. The prevalence of clergy sexual abuse and its shocking cover-up by church officials have obscured the largely untold story of the tort system’s remarkable success in bringing the scandal to light, focusing attention on the need for institutional reform, and spurring church leaders and public officials into action.

Stories of the tort system as an engine of social justice are rare. Holding Bishops Accountable tells one such story by revealing how pleadings, discovery documents, and depositions fueled media coverage of the scandal. Timothy Lytton shows how the litigation strategy of plaintiffs’ lawyers gave rise to a widespread belief that the real problem was not the actions of individual priests but rather the church’s massive institutional failure. The book documents how church and government policymakers responded to the problem of clergy sexual abuse only under the pressure of private lawsuits.

As Lytton deftly demonstrates, the lessons of clergy sexual abuse litigation give us reason to reconsider the case for tort reform and to look more closely at how tort litigation can enhance the performance of public and private policymaking institutions.

I stand by my contention that frivolous lawsuits are a myth.  Click here to read other posts in this regard.

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4 comments

  1. Mark D. Griswold on

    I had the privilege of confronting a young priest on 13 occasions about ROME's practices. (I am NOT a Roman Catholic!!) When I focused my questions on the "Enforced CELIBACY" issue, he kept telling me of the priest's SACRIFICE! But after a long pause, he looked up and apologetically told me that "The SIN of FORNICATION is a Lesser SIN than the SIN of PRIESTly MARRIAGE."!!!!

  2. Mark D. Griswold on

    When I asked the young priest about the INQUISITION, a big Scowl crossed his face, as he Emphatically said, "Oh, That Was TERRIBLE! What They DID To Those Eight to Ten People!"
    I immediately replied, "I have read figures as HIGH as OVER 100 MILLION TORTURED And KILLED!!?"
    Then he Indignantly Shot back, "Oh, I"m SURE It Was CLOSER To MY Figure!!"
    So when I asked HOW he could say, "8 to 10", when upon Contradictory Evidence he would ADMIT to 'something Less than 50 MILLION', he mumbled something inaudibly. The second time I asked him what he had said, I finally heard, "I was using a 'MENTAL RESERVATION.'"
    When I asked him what that meant, I Finally heard him Mumble, "CONCEALING the TRUTH From Someone Who Has NO RIGHT To KNOW."

  3. Mark D. Griswold on

    When I asked the priest WHY ROME calls the Mother of JESUS, "The Queen of Heaven" when that name is Only found in the BIBLE speaking of the Mother of BAAL, the SUN GOD, in Jeremiah 7:18 and also in chapter 44:17-25, the priest Finally ADMITTED, "When the Ancient ROMAN Empire conquered the surrounding Pagan nations, since they were all ILLITERATE, WE Couldn't very well give them BIBLEs to Read — So WE Just gave all their PAGAN IDOLs And TRADITIONs 'Christian' NAMES."
    Then he paused, visibly uncomfortable, before continuing in a hushed voice, "Thereby WE made Whole Nations 'CHRISTIAN' Overnight."
    SO, IF What this young PRIEST ADMITTED To Me Is True, the "CHURCH of ROME" is ACTUALLY "21st Century BAAL WORSHIP" with 'CHRISTIAN' Names — OR As JESUS HIMSELF WARNED in
    Matthew 7:15,

    ROMAN CATHOLICISM IS A

    "WOLF – In – SHEEP's CLOTHING!"