A judge has rejected a bid by the Diocese of Camden to spend two days questioning a man who alleges he was sexually abused by a priest and then repressed the memory for years.
According to the lawsuit filed last year by Herman Law, the victim was repeatedly assaulted by Rev. Joseph Shannon at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, New Jersey when he was a first grader at the parish school.
The attorney for the diocese claimed that extensive questioning, including asking our client to describe his abuse in detail, is necessary to protect the church’s rights.
According to the Courier-Post, the judge declined to order a two-day deposition, but said the attorneys for the diocese could request more time after the planned seven-hour deposition.
Thankfully, the victim will not have to endure the additional stress and pain that could potentially arise from a grueling two days of questioning.
By making the process of bringing predators to justice as difficult as possible for victims, the church and their legal team intended to intimidate and discourage other victims from coming forward.
In this battle, the good guys came out on top. But these exceedingly common legal maneuvers from the church’s defense lawyers send a discouraging message about the Catholic Church’s progress in handling clergy sex abuse cases.
This crisis will not be resolved until church officials move beyond paying lip service to victims and take substantive action to expose predator priests and validate victims who have been denied justice for decades.