US suits re-filed against Irish ex-priest

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Emigrant online

27 (?) June 2011

By Toni Earls

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who is spearheading an international pursuit of alleged abusers.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who is spearheading an international pursuit of alleged abusers.

Four lawsuits which had temporarily been withdrawn were re-filed last week in the case of Irish ex-Catholic priest Patrick McCabe, who is alleged to have abused four former altar boys while he was serving at St. Bernard’s Parish in Eureka, California in the mid-1980s.

The new suits, filed in Sonoma County, allege that the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California, the Servants of Paraclete [a Catholic religious community which runs treatment centers for the rehabilitation of abusive priests], and the Archdiocese of Dublin were purposeful in their placement of a known pedophile at St. Bernard’s. They claim parishioners were given no information about McCabe’s history, even though he was given complete and unsupervised access to children.

Sent by the Dublin Archdiocese to a Servants of Paraclete facility in New Mexico in 1982, McCabe returned to Ireland after six months, where he allegedly abused a 16-year old boy. Sent back once more to New Mexico, he was then sent to St. Bernard’s, Santa Rosa. His transfer is said to have been accompanied by a note from a Catholic official in Dublin to the Bishop of Santa Rosa which read: “Rid me of this troublesome priest.”

Jeff Anderson (63), a St. Paul, Minnesota attorney famous for leading nearly 1,500 abuse lawsuits against Churches in the United States, recently visited Dublin to investigate the case against McCabe, who was extradited to Ireland earlier this month on separate abuse charges.

Anderson represents three of McCabe’s four alleged US victims, and had suggested that the plaintiffs put the suits on hold while he gathered information about the international implications of any alleged conspiracy between the Churches.

Joseph George, a Sacramento, California attorney, who along with Anderson represents the American plaintiffs, said adding the Dublin Archdiocese and the Servants of the Paraclete as defendants, “will heighten the importance of the case in the effort to expose the international conspiracy of US Bishops and church officials in Europe and Rome to move, rather than remove, priests who were sexually abusing children.”

Anderson, who operates on a no win, no fee basis, recently co-founded a London law firm with UK lawyer Ann Olivarius, in a cross-Atlantic effort to launch legal actions focusing on abusers who moved between Britain, Ireland and the US during their careers.

On the abuse epidemic, he said: “I’ve been working to hold the church accountable for this terrible tragedy for almost three decades. But while we have made significant progress, in the end, ‘all roads lead to Rome’ and in this case we know the road goes through Dublin.”

McCabe is currently in custody in Ireland, where he faces nine charges of indecent assault against six victims.

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