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Lawyers seek injunction to prevent Cardinal leaving the US

Lawyers for alleged victims of sex abuse in civil cases involving Catholic priests were planning to file an emergency motion late on Tuesday to keep Cardinal Bernard Law in the state of Massachusetts, a spokesman for the attorneys said.

Attorneys Roderick MacLeish and Dan Shea said they fear that if Pope John Paul II calls Law to the Vatican, he would leave the state before they could depose him. But Judge Maria Lopez rejected the same motion when it was put forward last week.

Law, Archbishop of Boston, has been ordered to a give a deposition today (Wednesday) in a civil case involving defrocked priest and convicted child molester John Geoghan. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney made the decision on the deposition Monday.

86 people sued the archdiocese over allegations of sexual abuse by Geoghan, who is in prison after receiving a sentence of up to 10 years in January for fondling a young boy. He also faces other child sexual abuse charges.

Authorities said they believe Geoghan was a serial sexual offender over several years, with as many as 200 victims.

The Boston Archdiocese's Finance Council decided on Friday not to approve a settlement agreement with the 86 plaintiffs that defense attorneys estimated could cost the church about $A55 million. The council said it feared the church would not have the financial resources to deal with other potential cases.


8 May 2002