Clergy sex abuse: Comparing Buffalo to Boston

Boston attorney: The Buffalo Diocese Couldn't Do Any Less If They Tried

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Boston, Ma. (WBEN) - "We're seeing the beginnings of what happened in Boston".  Mitchell Garabedian - a Boston attorney who has worked on clergy abuse cases for many years, talked with WBEN about the similarities between Boston and Buffalo.
"Victims are starting come forward and as a result it has empowered other victims to come forward.  And you're seeing the church being forced to release names" he said.  

By releasing the names of 42 priests accused of sexual abuse, Garabedian says the church is doing the bare minimum. "They couldn't do any less if they tried".  Releasing documentation on where priests were assigned at the time of the abuse, and whether the priests were in treatment centers is critical in his opinion. "It will help victims heal, it will help indicate that crimes have been committed; not only by the pedophile priests but by the supervising priests".

Garabedian said it took 3 and a half years of litigation to get the secret files in Boston that led to the resignation in disgrace of Cardinal Bernard Law following the clergy sex abuse scandal in 2002.

Without the statute of limitations being changed, Garabedian says it will be very difficult to get the documents. "That is one reason why the church is opposing the Child Victims Act".

"You need a legal vehicle to go to court and say the church may be protected from the first amendment, Freedom of Religion, but when it comes to wrongful conduct, we have a right to look into the church's activity".  Garabedian says right now there is no legal vehicle in New York State, "there is nothing forcing the church to come forward with documents".  

He says victims should still come forward.  "They should still force the church's hand. The fight should still go on.  But without the Child Victim's Act, it's going to be very difficult to get the church to release documents which would indicate that supervisors knew children were being sexually molested yet they didn't protect children".

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