The lawyer who secured millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse by clergy in the Archdiocese of Louisville is working to hold the Vatican accountable for its alleged cover-up of the problem. William McMurry filed a lawsuit against the Vatican in 2004, but oral arguments were held today to allow him to continue the process.
Attorneys for the Vatican and the U.S. Departments of Justice and State argue the Vatican must be treated as a sovereign, foreign country with broader tort immunity. McMurry says the immunity doesn’t apply as broadly to this case because the Vatican is also a religious institution.
“That foreign country has the right to move to dismiss your complaint, arguing that they are totally immune from their conduct, in other words, they cannot be held accountable. But there’s a statute that grants immunity under certain circumstances and not others. We are claiming that statute does not include immunity for this kind of behavior,” said McMurry.
The matter has to be sorted out before the actual tort process can be implemented. McMurry expects a ruling is a few months away.