LFN (Law Firm Newswire)
02 November 2011
New Haven, CT (Law Firm Newswire) November 2, 2011 – A lawsuit involving the Legionaries of Christ and a man alleging sexual abuse is going to continue on in the Connecticut courts. The Superior Court Judge Grant Miller said these allegations are enough to proceed with the case that will show the level of negligence that the Legion is responsible for after one of its priests abused various children.
“The courts are allowing us to access documents and subpoena Vatican officials and others who could have covered up the decades of sexual abuse by late Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado and other priests,” said Connecticut personal injury attorney Joel Faxon, of Stratton Faxon law firm that is representing the victim in this case.
The victim, Jose Raul Gonzalez Lara, alleges that the Legion knew Maciel was a pedophile and did nothing to protect him from abuse that he endured from seven years old until he was 16 years old. Lara filed suit when he was 30 in June of 2010. The Legionaries of Christ were a secretive and powerful religious order in Connecticut, but have now moved its main offices to New York and Atlanta.
“The lawsuit shows that it was not just Lara who was a victim,” said Faxon. “Children were being sexually abused by Maciel from the 1940s on and even in the 1970s one of the Legionaries’ national directors accused Maciel of abusing 20 seminarians. A U.S. bishop had the courage to report Maciel to the Vatican and Pope Paul VI, but nothing was done.”
Maciel led what many deemed as a double life. In Mexico, he was known as Raul Rivas and worked as an oil executive and CIA agent. Gonzalez’s mother, Blanca Lara Gutierrez, said that out of the three children Maciel had with her, two were sexually abused, including Jose Raul Gonzalez Lara. The Vatican respected the Legionaries and Maciel’s fundraising and recruiting efforts, and therefore covered up the wrongdoing, the suit alleges. Maciel passed away in 2008.
“Vatican documents show that they knew Maciel had conducted immoral actions, but unfortunately the abuse was not questioned,” said Faxon. “Allowing this case to proceed will help many people get the truth uncovered and show that priests and religious organizations must be held accountable for their actions.”
Stratton Faxon is a Connecticut personal injury law firm specializing in sexual abuse, medical malpractice, wrongful death, birth injury, truck accidents, and malpractice. To learn more, visit the Connecticut personal injury law firm at http://www.strattonfaxon.com.
59 Elm Street
New Haven, CT 06510