NBC News staff and wire reports

A U.S. federal judge in Oregon on Monday dismissed a clergy sexual abuse case that was the first to try to hold the Vatican responsible for moving an offending priest into unsuspecting parishes, lawyers in the case said.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman in Portland, Oregon, ruled the Holy See in Rome could not be shown to be the “employer” of the late Father Andrew Ronan, who abused children in Chicago and later in Portland.

Church officials in Chicago knew that Ronan, who ultimately left the priesthood and died in 1992, had a history of sexual abuse, but he continued to abuse after he was transferred to Oregon, court documents showed.

Mosman had previously ordered the Vatican to provide all the relevant documents in Ronan’s case but he ultimately concluded the Holy See did not belong in the case.

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“There is no fact in the record on which to base an employment relationship,” Jeffrey Luna, a lawyer for the Vatican in the United States, said in summarizing the judge’s ruling.

The Oregonian newspaper quoted Luna?as saying the ruling was “quite significant … because the Holy See has patiently and cooperatively worked with the American judicial process to arrive at this day.”

 

 

Source: NBC News staff and wire reports

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