Last week, leading contingency lawyer Mitchell Garabedian dramatically claimed that the Catholic Church is "once again acting in the most immoral way by allowing the wholesale sexual abuse of children."
Wow! "Allowing the wholesale sexual abuse of children"? What exactly could have prompted Garabedian's shocking claim? Did the Diocese of Fall River (serving Southeastern Massachusetts), at whom Garabedian directed his comments, recently return a dangerous child abuser to ministry? Did the diocese recently look the other way as abuse was being committed?
As it turns out, the diocese did none of these things. Instead, the diocese simply did not kowtow to Garabedian's demand for money in his latest abuse suit against the Catholic Church.
Garabedian strikes out down the Interstate
As it has been reported before, Garabedian has successfully sued dioceses in the United States for alleged abuse even in cases where the accused priests were long dead, the accusations were dubious, and the priests never had any hints of impropriety when they were alive.
In 2012, the Archdiocese of Boston paid Garabedian in two such cases, much to the outrage of the deceased priests' family members and friends. Garabedian's success in extracting money from the Archdiocese of Boston appeared as easy as a trip to the ATM machine.
Garabedian probably thought he would have it just as easy when he filed a similar lawsuit, also in 2012, against the Diocese of Fall River, alleging abuse by a priest starting in the late 1970s. In his suit, Garabedian made the astonishing claim that a priest abused two parishioners for nearly a decade starting when the boys were 9 or ten years old and lasting until they were seventeen.
Those pesky detailsAlas, however, the diocese hired independent investigators to look into the matter, and they concluded that the evidence did not support Garabedian's claim. Most notably, the accused priest died in 1996 at 83 years old, and not a single allegation had ever been made against him.
Yet even though no evidence of abuse was found by investigators, the diocese agreed not only to offer free counseling for the men but to also enter a mediation process to bring closure to the case.
However, as the Diocese of Fall River reports, Garabedian recently abruptly "ended the mediation process."
In other words, when the diocese apparently refused Garabedian's demand for money, he unleashed his tirade that the Church was now somehow "allowing the wholesale sexual abuse of children."
Not the first time for Garabedian
Not surprisingly, this is not the first time that Garabedian has gone off the rails when a diocese has not met his demands for money. In early 2002, when the Archdiocese of Boston did not acquiesce to a reported settlement, that provoked Garabedian to tar the Catholic Church as "just plain evil." (A high-profile settlement, with more claimants and more money, was later reached in 2003.)
Kudos to the Diocese of Fall River for standing for justice and refusing the bullying demands of Garabedian.