Dec 2, 2019

Catholic Church faces "astronomical" liability

Photo: Charles Ommanney/Getty Images

17 years after the Boston Globe published its groundbreaking reporting on sexual abuse by priests, the Catholic Church faces a historic crisis of legal liability.

The big picture: The Church could be on the hook for more than $4 billion in damages, the AP estimates.

  • There could be at least 5,000 new cases against the church in New York, New Jersey and California alone, which are among the eight states with “lookback windows” that allow sex abuse claims no matter how old, the AP reports.
  • 15 states and D.C. have changed their statute of limitations since 2018 to allow for these suits, since so many sexual assault allegations date back decades.

Why it matters: Never before have so many states acted in near-unison to lift the restrictions that once shut people out if they didn’t bring claims of childhood sex abuse by a certain age, often their early 20s.

The bottom line: Los Angeles lawyer Paul Mones, who has won tens of millions in sex abuse cases against the church going back to the 1980s, told the AP that “the zeitgeist is completely unfavorable to the Catholic Church.”

  • “The X-factor here is whether there will be trials,” he said. “If anyone starts trying these cases, the numbers could become astronomical.”

Go deeper: Hundreds of accused priests face no oversight

Go deeper

Catholic bishop resigns after allegations of mishandled sexual abuse claims

Bishop Richard Malone offering communion in 2005, when he was a Bishop in Portland. Photo: Doug Jones/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The Vatican on Wednesday announced the resignation of Buffalo, New York, Bishop Richard Malone following allegations that he mishandled sexual abuse claims, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Under Malone, who has been the bishop since 2012, the Buffalo Diocese became embroiled in scandal and now faces an FBI investigation and more than 200 lawsuits — even after he promised to enact reforms.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Global gun violence targets worshippers of all faiths

The Al -Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand on Sept. 13. Photo: Tessa Burrows/Getty Images

Hundreds of clergy and worshippers of various faiths were killed at temples, synagogues, churches and mosques around the world this year, AP reports.

The big picture: The Christchurch mosque attacker killed 51 people and the event led to international calls to action against online extremism and terrorism fueled by white supremacist ideology. But other attacks gained sparse international attention, like a deadly Dec. 1 shooting at a Protestant church in the West African country Burkina Faso.

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019

Government nursing home database flags 5% of facilities for abuse or neglect

New Jersey, Morristown, nursing home residents. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A government nursing home database has begun flagging those recently cited for abuse or neglect, the Wall Street Journal reports.

By the numbers: Of the 15,262 facilities in the database, 760 — or about 5% — have been flagged with a red icon.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019