In clergy sex abuse lawsuit "John V. Doe v. Holy See," the Vatican contended it was a publicity stunt and without merit since U.S. priests were not "employees" of the Vatican. The U.S. Supreme Court did not agree with that argument. It ruled for the suit, originally filed in 2002 by a Seattle man who claimed that Rev. Andrew Ronan molested him, to move forward. That means that it will go to trial in an Oregon district court.
Jeff Anderson, attorney for the plaintiff, told AP reporter Rachel Zoll, "I have known for 25 years that all roads lead to Rome. This is the beginning for us of a new journey, a uniquely difficult odyssey." All eyes will be on the trial since testimony during it could reveal the inner workings and values of the Roman Catholic Church, both at the top level of the Vatican and on the micro level of the parish. The Vatican has attempted to position the Roman Catholic Church as a decentralized structure, with authority not top-down but at the level of the individual parish.
This is not the first time that the U.S. Supreme Court has turned down the Roman Catholic Church's request. Three times, the Diocese of Bridgeport, here in Connecticut, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The request was to keep sealed the 12,000+ pages of discovery documents from the clergy sex abuse settlement with the plaintiffs. Three times the U.S. Supreme Court said no. A court in Connecticut confirmed that ruling.
Last December the media, ranging from THE NEW YORK TIMES to the HARTFORD COURANT, gained access to those documents. There was outrage that some of those in authority who allegedly covered up the priest misconduct still were in those positions of authority in Connecticut.