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The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses$
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James T. O'Reilly and Margaret S.P. Chalmers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937936.001.0001

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The Perfect Storm in Canon Law:

The Perfect Storm in Canon Law:

What Went Wrong?

Chapter:
(p.253) Chapter 22 The Perfect Storm in Canon Law
Source:
The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses
Author(s):

James T. O’Reilly

Margaret S. P. Chalmers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937936.003.0022

This chapter explains the slow and clunky internal Church trial process that makes removal of bad actors slow and difficult. Cumbersome old processes and excessive formalities make the removal and punishment process exceedingly difficult to manage. The chapter describes in detail the problems encountered by the U.S. Catholic Church in attempting to conduct trials in accordance with canon law, including the lack of experienced personnel, the difficulties with investigations and proofs, the sometimes lack of cooperation by the accuser because of parental concerns or civil lawyer admonitions to protect the victim‘s interest in ongoing civil tort lawsuits, and the effect of prescriptions.

Keywords:   laicization, penal trial, canon law penalties, prescription, suspension

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