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One diocese sues another over sex abuse

The Diocese of San Bernardino, California, has sued the Archdiocese of Boston, alleging that Boston officials hid the history of sexual molestation by former priest Paul Shanley when he moved to California.

The lawsuit, filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court, is believed to mark the first time that one US Catholic diocese has sued another in civil court, according to both dioceses. As such it is a further indication of how the sex-abuse scandal has moved through the Catholic Church, overturning long-established customs.

A spokesman for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington called the lawsuit, at the least, a historic "rarity".

The lawsuit accuses Catholic officials in Boston of engaging in "misrepresentations and suppression of information" as well as "active misconduct and negligence" in hiding the background of Shanley, who has been accused of molesting boys since 1967. He moved to San Bernardino in 1990 and has been accused in a civil lawsuit of assaulting at least one teenager while there.

Boston Globe

Diocese Sues Boston Archdiocese (Washington Post)
Diocese of San Bernadino, CA
Archdiocese of Boston

4 Apr 2003