The Immorality of Subpoenaing the Therapists of the Victims of Clergy Abuse

By Paul La Camera [Boston MA]
Downloaded February 3, 2003

We, like others, had thought that, with the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law, the Boston Archdiocese was finally committed to acknowledging the profound harm it inflicted by protecting and enabling abusive priests. We also thought the Archdiocese was further committed to providing true healing and compensation to the victims of those priests. It appears we were naive in those assumptions.

First, there was the threat of the Archdiocese declaring bankruptcy to limit its liability to the victims. That was followed with a proposed First Amendment strategy to protect the church hierarchy from criminal liability on the grounds of separation of church and state. And, now the most distasteful tactic of all, the plan by the Archdiocese's lawyers to subpoena the therapists treating the victims and to extract from them what should be the most personal and private of matters.

The Archdiocese's intended action may be acceptable legal form, one no doubt intended to dissuade the victims from their law suits and, in turn, to provide advantage to the Archdiocese at the negotiation table. While deposing the victims' therapists under oath may pass the legal test, such action by the Archdiocese miserably fails the morality test.

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