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The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses

The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses

  • Author:
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press USA
  • ISBN: 9780199937936
  • Published In: November 2014
  • Format: Hardback , 472 pages
  • Jurisdiction: U.S. ? Disclaimer:
    Countri(es) stated herein are used as reference only

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  • Description 
  • Contents 
  • Author 
  • Details

    • Clear explanation of the Catholic Church abuse scandal in the U.S.
    • Probes how church law protects bishops from accountability
    • Deals directly with "repressed memory" incidents and belated crime reporting
    • Places blame for priests' improper behavior on failings of church accountability processes
    • Considers reforms and best practices to be applied in the light of the scandal

    The sexual abuse of children and teens by rogue priests in the U.S. Catholic Church is a heinous crime, and those who pray for a religious community as its ministers, priests and rabbis should never tolerate those who prey on that community. The legal disputes of recent years have produced many scandalous headlines and fuelled public discussion about the sexual abuse crisis within the clergy, a crisis that has cost the U.S. Catholic Church over $3 billion. 

    In The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses, two eminent experts, James O'Reilly and Margaret Chalmers, draw on the lessons of recent years to discern the interplay between civil damages law and global church-based canon law. In some countries civil and canon law, although autonomous systems of law, both form part of the church's legal duties. In the United States, freedom of religion issues have complicated how the state adjudicates both cases of abuse and who can be held responsible for clerical oversight. This book examines questions of civil and criminal liability, issues of respondeat superior and oversight, issues with statutes of limitations and dealing with allegations that occurred decades ago, and how the Church's internal judicial processes interact or clash with the civil pursuit of these cases.

    Readership: US prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement agencies either directly or indirectly concerned with the clergy abuse scandal; lay & religious supporters of the Catholic church; advisors to non-Catholic churches; defense lawyers and corporate counsel who represent Catholic dioceses; religious studies scholars and students.

  • Preface
    PART I: CONTEXT & BACKGROUND
    Chapter 1 Introduction to a Complex Problem
    Chapter 2 Understanding the Patterns of Clergy Abuse Litigation
    PART II: CIVIL LITIGATION
    Chapter 3 Civil Litigation Against Catholic Dioceses, Parishes and Priests
    Chapter 4 Participants in the Clergy Abuse Case
    PART III: HANDLING ABUSE CLAIMS
    Chapter 5 Delays & Limitations in Clergy Abuse Claims
    PART IV: OTHER RELATED ISSUES
    Chapter 6 Effects of Criminal Charges & Plea Agreements
    Chapter 7 Church Insurance & Abuse Claims
    Chapter 8 Constitutional Issues
    Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Issues
    Chapter 10 Mandated Abuse Reporting Issues
    Chapter 11 Evidence Privileges & Clergy Abuse Issues
    Chapter 12 Repressed Memory Inducement Cases
    Chapter 13 Fraud and Nondisclosure in the Assignment of Clergy
    Chapter 14 Defenses & Claims of Immunity
    Chapter 15 Damages Issues
    Chapter 16 Fiscal Impacts of Abuse Cases on the U.S. Catholic Church
    Chapter 17 Impact of Abuse Cases on External Relations of the Catholic Church
    Chapter 18 Responses Vary Inside & Outside the United States
    Chapter 19 The Church's Internal Big Picture - Governance and Law
    Chapter 20 How Episcopal Culture Contributed to Administrative Failure
    Chapter 21 The Development of the Problem: 1950 to 2002
    Chapter 22 The Perfect Storm in Canon Law: What Went Wrong
    Chapter 23 2002 and Beyond
    Chapter 24 The Particular Issues of Religious Communities
    Chapter 25 The Investigation and Pretrial Canonical Process
    Chapter 26 The Accuser and The Canonical Process
    Chapter 27 Canonical Penal Trials and Outcomes
    Chapter 28 Limitations and Weaknesses in the Canonical Penal System
    Chapter 29 Clergy Abuse Issues in Non-Roman Catholic Denominations
    Chronology
    Bibliography
    Index

  • James T. O'Reilly is a Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He was President of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council under Archbishop (later Cardinal) Joseph Bernardin. He has served as a state police officer, taught criminal law and published several books on criminal investigatory procedure. His legal article on church accountability was accepted by state appeals courts in several states. He is co-author ofPunishing Corporate Crime: Legal Penalties for Criminal and Regulatory Violations (Oxford University Press, 2009).

    Margaret S. P. Chalmers has worked for many years in canon law, and as a civil attorney. She worked for the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama for ten years, and has been an adjunct professor in the Honors College at the University of Alabama. She is currently the Chancellor of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, as well as being in canonical practice with Canon Law Professionals. She is a member of the Canon Law Society of America as well as a member of the Alabama State Bar. Her articles have been published in both Studia Canonica and CLSA Proceedings.

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