Perhaps it was an inevitable result of years of litigation with the Catholic Church concerning the priest sex abuse scandal. Yet, the news that David Clohessy, the national director of SNAP, will be forced to give a deposition in a case involving a priest accused of sexual abuse has caught some by surprise. Others are outraged that abuse survivors’ correspondence with him about their abuse will be revealed during the deposition.
The decision to depose Clohessy duces tecum (he has to produce documents in his possession concerning communications he’s had about abuse cases) is a high stakes gamble for Catholic Church lawyers who appear desperate to stop the flow of civil litigation that continues to erode the integrity and reputation of the Church. While the move may indeed intimidate some survivors from pursuing civil justice, it may turn the tide of public opinion even further (if that’s possible) against the Church. It reminds me of another bullying tactic employed by these same Church lawyers a few years ago when they tried to force “John and Jane Doe” survivors into publicly revealing their identities as if they were on trial rather than the perpetrators of sex crimes.
It’s my sincere hope the truth will win the day against such bullying tactics by defense lawyers. In the end, it’s a legal tactic that reveals desperation rather than any real desire to defend innocence.