Saturday, October 31, 2009

Priest's Claims of Abuse and Retaliation From Fellow-Priests Dismissed

In Hoatson v New York Archdiocese, (NY S.Ct., Oct. 26, 2009), a New York trial court dismissed claims brought against the Congregation of Christian Brothers, various clergy, the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Albany by a priest who claimed that he had been sexually abused by fellow priests for 12 years. He alleged that he was denied promotions and experienced retaliation because he refused and complained about sexual advances and that he experienced retaliation when he complained of alleged inappropriate sexual behavior of priests with minors. He says he was fired from his position at a parochial school in the Archdiocese of Newark for speaking critically about the Catholic Church at a public hearing before the New York State Senate in Albany, on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse. The court dismissed all the claims on various procedural and pleading grounds, including statute of limitations. In doing so, the court avoided having to determine whether the "ministerial exception" applies to claims under New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act that protects whistle blowers.