First Posted: June 07, 2011 – 6:25 pm
Last Updated: June 07, 2011 – 8:41 pm
WILLIAM MCCALL Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Vatican has asked for more time to produce documents a federal judge in Oregon has ordered released in a lawsuit by a man who claims he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest in the 1960s.
U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled in April that the man, who is not identified in court documents, is entitled to limited discovery of documents related to whether the priest was an employee of the Vatican.
An attorney for the Vatican, Jeffrey Lena, has asked for an additional 60 days to produce the documents, saying the extra time is needed because much of the information contained in them is in Latin.
In a document filed Monday to support the extension, Lena also said the request to produce the documents involves complex matters of foreign law, canon law and religious doctrine.
“It’s an entirely reasonable request,” Lena said Tuesday.
Jeff Anderson, the attorney representing the plaintiff, said he has challenged the request for additional time, calling it too vague, especially when only the Vatican knows what is in the documents.
“They’re so secret it’s hard to know for sure,” Anderson said.
The lawsuit seeks to hold the Vatican liable for abuse the man claims he suffered from the Rev. Andrew Ronan, who died in 1992.
Mosman ruled April 21 that Ronan may have been under the control of a U.S. Catholic organization, but that does not preclude the priest from also being an employee of the Vatican.
The Vatican has denied it was Ronan’s employer, arguing it was not responsible for Ronan or his multiple transfers amid allegations of sexual abuse, from Ireland to Chicago then to Portland, where the plaintiff claimed the abuse occurred.