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The Minnesota Attorney Taking on the Vatican

The scandal involving the Catholic Church and sex abuse by priests has been going on for years and years. But the saga ramped up decidedly in the past week, when the New York Times reported on a trove of documents supplied by Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., lawyer who’s filed thousands of suits against the church in recent years.

Read full story here.

Anderson has, since 1983, along with five other attorneys, sued thousands of Catholic priests, bishops, and dioceses over allegations of sexual abuse by priests and other church leaders.

Rather, Anderson, told the AP he feels a “deep empathy with abuse victims,” whom he calls “survivors.” For years, Anderson has had his sights set not only on priests in the U.S., but the Vatican itself.

According to the AP story, Anderson hopes to use the Milwaukee lawsuit currently making waves to advance a separate lawsuit filed eight years ago in Oregon federal court.

In that case, an unidentified plaintiff claims he was sexually abused as a teenager in 1965 or 1966 by the Rev. Andrew Ronan at St. Albert’s Church in Portland, Ore. According to court documents, Ronan was accused of abusing boys in the mid-1950s as a priest in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland. He was transferred to Chicago, where he admitted abusing three boys at St. Philip’s High School, and after that was sent to Oregon.

The church removed Ronan from the priesthood in 1966. He died in 1982.

According to the AP story, the lawsuit claims the Vatican had to approve the international transfer. The Vatican claims it is protected by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which prohibits U.S. lawsuits against foreign countries.

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