The Vicarious Liability of the Roman Catholic Church

Old Mr Grouser

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Andrew49 has just posted this on another thread, but I think that it's important enougn to be worth a thread of its own -

Lawyers representing alleged victims of clerical sexual abuse told a judge last week that the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is liable for the actions of its priests because it provides them with “extraordinary power” over parishioners, comparable to that of police and corrections officers. T

he legal theory, called “aided-in-agency,” is becoming more common in civil cases and gives attorneys a potent new tool in clerical abuse cases, attorneys in the case said.

Second Judicial District Judge Denise Barela Shepherd agreed and ruled that a San Miguel County man who alleges he was raped by a Las Vegas priest in the late 1970s can use the aided-in-agency theory in his lawsuit against the archdiocese.

The judge also urged the archdiocese to appeal her ruling to an appellate court.

Barela Shepherd said in the hearing that the issue needs the clarity that an appellate court can provide.

This is the second time in two months that a District Court judge has ruled against the archdiocese on the issue.


Last month, District Judge Alan Malott rejected a motion from the archdiocese in another clerical abuse lawsuit that had asked Malott to prohibit use of the aided-in-agency theory in that case.

In his Aug. 11 order, Malott ruled that making the archdiocese liable for the priests’ sexual abuse of children.
https://www.abqjournal.com/851427/churchs-liability-in-abuse-debated.html
 


Old Mr Grouser

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There's nothing particularly new about it.

It's the same old agency law that it's been for a very long time.

Of course Cardinal Pell doesn't agree -

While facing questions from the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse, Pell said the Catholic Church was no more responsible for child abuse carried out by church figures than a trucking company would be if they employed a driver who molested women.

“If the truck driver picks up some lady and then molests her, I don’t think it’s appropriate, because it is contrary to the policy, for the ownership, the leadership of that company to be held responsible,”

Cardinal Pell told the commission via video link from Rome on Thursday.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/22/truckers-outraged-by-cardinal-george-pells-sex-abuse-comparison
But if a lorry driver had molested a woman his employer would have sacked him and vigorously assisted the police.
 

Catalpast

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There's nothing particularly new about it.

It's the same old agency law that it's been for a very long time.

Of course Cardinal Pell doesn't agree -



But if a lorry driver had molested a woman his employer would have sacked him and vigorously assisted the police.
That would depend on circumstance

- using the same criteria as stated above would leave every employer open to be sued for any and every criminal action carried out by an employee

Which is daft
 

Irish-Rationalist

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Ultimately does this translate to meaning that the pope should be brought before the European court of Justice for all sexual abuse cases perpetrated by paedophile priests in Europe? And perhaps in fact made to stand trial in every other country which has experienced the predatory behaviour of paedo priests?
 

Old Mr Grouser

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Ultimately does this translate to meaning that the pope should be brought before the European court of Justice for all sexual abuse cases perpetrated by paedophile priests in Europe? And perhaps in fact made to stand trial in every other country which has experienced the predatory behaviour of paedo priests?
The Pope is just a figurehead.

But the Holy See does oversee the RCC worldwide; it appoints and dismisses the bishops, ad collects and its Papal Nuncios give them their orders and been implicated in criminal cover-ups.

It also oversees the seminaries, and its the rottenness in so many of those seminaries that has made the sex-abuse problem so widespread.
 
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Old Mr Grouser

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I was sitting in a McDonalds yesterday - drinking a coffee and doing the crossword - and I couldn't help hearing an old Irishwoman at the next table telling a friend how when she was eight her mother had died of TB; and the priest had then come to the house and told the father that the children should go into a Home since he wouldn't be able to rear them on his own. (The man did manage it on his own anyway.)

In the context of this thread that priest was acting as an agent, and he was acting as an agent for the same organisations which profited from the Homes, that is, the Roman Catholic Church.
 

Old Mr Grouser

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That would depend on circumstance

- using the same criteria as stated above would leave every employer open to be sued for any and every criminal action carried out by an employee

Which is daft
Yes, You're right. It does depend on circumstances.

The plaintiff has to go into court and will have to prove, among other things, that the whoever committed the tort - the priest, say, or the lorry driver - was aided in accomplishing the tort by the existence of the agency relationship.

In the case of priests they are RCC-endorsed, work out of RCC-buildings and wear RCC uniforms -




[video=youtube;2iQGczIx6Sg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iQGczIx6Sg[/video]
 

Skypeme

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I was sitting in a McDonalds yesterday - drinking a coffee....
Who in their right mind drinks McDonalds coffee - its piss, should try O'Briens next time you are eavesdropping.

... and doing the crossword.....
In McDonalds? - you are really a glutton for punishment!

......an old Irishwoman at the next table telling a friend how when she was eight her mother had died of TB; and the priest had then come to the house and told the father that the children should go into a Home since he wouldn't be able to rear them on his own. (The man did manage it on his own anyway.)
Good for him but your narrative lacks clarity - the 'priest' did not say 'must' and in that context the word 'advised' would be more appropriate. If you had bothered to ask, the 'old Irishwoman' would have told you that in the absence of any organised system of social welfare at the time local charities were often the last resort for people in distress. But you didn't of course.

In the context of this thread that priest was acting as an agent, and he was acting as an agent for the same organisations which profited from the Homes, that is, the Roman Catholic Church.
Today in our liberal democracy we have state-funded agencies and quangos, staffed by CEO's, Financial Controllers, advisors, lobbyists, mercs, perks, overseas holidays etc., etc, all spending taxpayers money, some of it in very dubious circumstances. Do I need to mention, probably not.

It's a pity you did not ask the 'old Irishwoman' for an opinion on our present-day scandals, but that would not fit-in with your agenda. Drinking coffee in McDonalds indeed.
 
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Yes, You're right. It does depend on circumstances.

The plaintiff has to go into court and will have to prove, among other things, that the whoever committed the tort - the priest, say, or the lorry driver - was aided in accomplishing the tort by the existence of the agency relationship.

In the case of priests they are RCC-endorsed, work out of RCC-buildings and wear RCC uniforms -




[video=youtube;2iQGczIx6Sg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iQGczIx6Sg[/video]
Probably the most powerful moment I have ever seen on television.
 

mr_anderson

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There's nothing particularly new about it.

It's the same old agency law that it's been for a very long time.

Of course Cardinal Pell doesn't agree -



But if a lorry driver had molested a woman his employer would have sacked him and vigorously assisted the police.
And if it was the lorry company's policy to have drivers pick-up women, then they also bare responsibility for their safety.
 

Cruimh

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Ultimately does this translate to meaning that the pope should be brought before the European court of Justice for all sexual abuse cases perpetrated by paedophile priests in Europe? And perhaps in fact made to stand trial in every other country which has experienced the predatory behaviour of paedo priests?
Only if his agents refuse to cooperate with the agents of civil law in the respective countries.
 

Old Mr Grouser

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And if it was the lorry company's policy to have drivers pick-up women, then they also bare responsibility for their safety.
Yes.

Read through Vicarious liability for intentional torts - the courts no longer approach the question of vicarious liability shackled by the traditional Salmond test of "in the course of employment", but rather now apply a broader test of fairness and justice, turning on the sufficiency of the connection between the breach of duty and employment and/or whether the risk of such breach was one reasonably incidental to it.

The author is a London barrister specialising in claims arising out of childhood sexual abuse.
 

Cruimh

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I was sitting in a McDonalds yesterday - drinking a coffee and doing the crossword - and I couldn't help hearing an old Irishwoman at the next table telling a friend how when she was eight her mother had died of TB; and the priest had then come to the house and told the father that the children should go into a Home since he wouldn't be able to rear them on his own. (The man did manage it on his own anyway.)

In the context of this thread that priest was acting as an agent, and he was acting as an agent for the same organisations which profited from the Homes, that is, the Roman Catholic Church.
Good for him but your narrative lacks clarity - the 'priest' did not say 'must' and in that context the word 'advised' would be more appropriate. If you had bothered to ask, the 'old Irishwoman' would have told you that in the absence of any organised system of social welfare at the time local charities were often the last resort for people in distress. But you didn't of course.
60 and 70 years ago priests did say "Must" to the vulnerable.

How do you know what the priest said in this case?
 

tsarbomb

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That would depend on circumstance

- using the same criteria as stated above would leave every employer open to be sued for any and every criminal action carried out by an employee

Which is daft
It's different. A parishioner being sexually assaulted by a priest is not the same as an employee of any old company engaging in criminal behaviour. A priest has a level of responsibility to the people he "serves" that is comparable only to law enforcement agents and people in healthcare. In those two other examples the larger organisation is liable if one of its members is abusing their position so why not the religious organisations?
 

Therightroad

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Modern Ireland is the way to go..no religion or morals...
Murder your neighbour
Snort drugs up your nose
Rob your neighbours house
Ignore your neighbour.. wear ear phones
Campaign for Abortion , transgenders etc..
Only worry about yourself f..u..c..k the community
Kick the crap out of anyone who looks sideways at you..

Welcome to Modern Ireland.....f..u..c.. k .. you too!!
 

Fritzbox

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It's different. A parishioner being sexually assaulted by a priest is not the same as an employee of any old company engaging in criminal behaviour. A priest has a level of responsibility to the people he "serves" that is comparable only to law enforcement agents and people in healthcare...
Where does it say that - from a legal standpoint?
 

Filibuster

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Unfortunately, bringing the Catholic Church key figures to a court often is not possible as the Vatican State is not a member of the Council of Europe, nor the EU and only has observer status at the UN.

The European Court of Hunan Rights and the European Courts of Justice actually have no jurisdiction in the Vatican and clearly the Vatican must think that it's incapable of compliance with European fundamental human rights laws, otherwise it would accept the basic treaties of the Council of Europe, which are actually extremely socially progressive and fundamentally human rights based concepts that emerged as a response to the horrors of WWII.

It's a little enclave of pure theocracy in the middle of s continent Of post enlightenment human rights. An interesting little time capsule and a version of a medieval royal court that is largely treated as a nation state for legacy reasons.
 


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