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Deposition of Cardinal Bernard Law
May 8, 2002, Suffolk County Superior Court

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Q. So you can't say with certainty whether it was before or after --

A. '85? I don't know that we were dealing with that many cases.

Q. So it may have been after your conversations with Father Doyle on this issue that you --

A. -- that we had the team.

Q. Yes.

A. But not because of the conversations with him. That, I thought, was the question.

Q. No, no, it was just after.

A. Oh, fine.

Q. Just time sequence. Father Doyle imparted some of his concerns about what was going on at some of the centers to you?

A. I'm not sure that that was the point of issue. My concern was how do we assess the various centers for their effectiveness, which was an ongoing concern for many years for me.

Q. Do you ever hear of something called the Seton Institute?

A. Excuse me?

Q. The Seton Institute in Maryland.

A. The Seton Institute? I don't believe so. If I did, I don't remember.

Q. Okay. Okay. Did you explain to Father Oates what kind of, in 1984, what kind of expert you wanted to assess Father Geoghan?

A. Father Oates would not have been the person to, that I would have had that discussion with. It would have been Father, Bishop Daily when he was there, it would have been Bishop Banks when he took that responsibility. But in 1984, months after I came here as Archbishop, I was relying upon those assisting me to handle this adequately, and I was relying on their discretion in terms of the medical expertise.

Q. Did you have any system in place to make sure that the right medical experts were involved?

MR TODD: At what point?

MR. GORDON: In 1984.

A. No.

Q. Okay. Do you remember if you had any discussions in 1984 concerning Mrs. Gallant or the Dussord family?

A. No. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't have a recall on the letter itself, but, but obviously I saw the envelope.

Q. Sure. Without regard to the letter, do you remember any conversations at all in 1984 with regard to Marge Gallant or the Dussord family?

A. No.

Q. Okay. With regard to Father Geoghan, do you recall any conversations you had in 1984 pertaining to him?

A. I cannot recall specific conversations in 1984 about Father Geoghan, but underlying, underlying appointment letters such as you have put before me, I can, I can assume that there was a conversation.

Q. But you don't remember any of the conversations at this point?

A. The note such as I put on the envelope is of, is in a sense engaging in conversation. One can engage in conversation in different ways, and I, and I was, I was involved with others about Father Geoghan's case.

Q. Let me ask you if you recall if there was a verbal conversation you had with anyone in 1984?

A. I don't recall a verbal conversation.

Q. Okay.

A. But -- which is not to say there wasn't a verbal conversation.

Q. I understand. I'm going to give you what has been previously marked as Exhibit 166, at the deposition of Bishop McCormack.

(Document exhibited to witness.)

Q. And I'd -- exhibit -- you've been given a copy of Exhibit 166 which appears to be a letter from Bishop D'Arcy to you dated December 7, 1984. First let me ask you, do you recall seeing this letter?

MR TODD: At or about the time of the letter?

MR. GORDON: At or about the time.

A. That this was issued?

Q. Yes.

A. I don't have a recall of this letter, no.

Q. Okay. At that time in 1984, was Bishop D'Arcy assigned to the Archdiocese of Boston?

A. Yes, he was an auxiliary Bishop.

Q. And was he also a regional Bishop?

A. He was.

Q. And what region was he a regional Bishop of?

A. He would have been a region that would have involved the west region now, which would have included Weston.

Q. Do you know if -- have you seen this letter before today, let me ask you that?

A. I've seen it before today, but I have not seen it in the time frame -- I don't recall seeing it in the time frame in which it was, it was communicated.

MR. GORDON: We're going to take a 20-second break for them to change tapes.

VIDEO OPERATOR: The time is 11:47. This is the end of video cassette No. 1. We're going off the record.

(Video off.)

(Discussion off the record.) (Video on.)

VIDEO OPERATOR: We're back on the record. This is tape No. 2. The time is 11:49. This is the beginning of video cassette No. 2 in the deposition of Cardinal Bernard Law.


Q. Are you aware of any time in which Bishop D'Arcy had a supervisory role of Father Geoghan?

A. No, I am not.

Q. Do you -- can you tell me how Bishop D'Arcy would have known about Father Geoghan having a history of homosexual involvement with young boys if he was not directly involved with the supervision?

A. I cannot tell you that.

Q. As of September of 1984, were you aware that Father Geoghan had a history of homosexual involvement with young boys?

A. I was aware that there was involvement because, because of the, of having removed him out of one parish and putting him between assignments before sending him back to another, and then necessitating a letter that would not have been necessary unless there had been a problem.

Q. Have you and Bishop D'Arcy ever discussed Father Geoghan?

A. I don't recall, but we very well might have in, when he was, when he was here as auxiliary Bishop.

Q. Did you get letters questioning your assignment of priests to parishes such as the one Bishop D'Arcy sent on December 7, '84, had you received letters like that before?

A. Before?

Q. Before December 7 of '84.

A. First of all, I don't recall --

Q. This letter.

A. -- seeing this letter in that time frame.

Q. Okay.

A. But, no, I do not recall receiving similar letters prior to that.

Q. Had anyone else in the hierarchy, up until 1989, expressed to you concerns about Father Geoghan being assigned to work in parish assignments where he would have an opportunity to be exposed to boys?

MR. ROGERS: Objection to the form. Could you tell us what you mean by "hierarchy?"

MR. GORDON: That's a good point.

Q. Had anybody else at the archdiocese ever expressed concerns about assigning Father Geoghan to parish work?

A. No. You know, the, the assignments that were made were made after some attestation, and as you -- and -- no, I did not receive complaints about those assignments from Bishops or from others in authority.

Q. Did you ever have a conversation with Monsignor Rossiter about Father Geoghan?

A. I don't recall personally having had such a conversation.

Q. Would you have wanted at that time Monsignor Rossiter to be aware of the issues with Father Geoghan?

MR. ROGERS, III: At what time?

MR. GORDON: In 1984 when Father Geoghan was a assigned to St. Julia's in Weston.

A. I -- yes, I would have wanted that.

Q. And how would you have seen that that information would have been conveyed to Monsignor Rossiter?

A. My presumption would be that those assisting me in handling these matters would have also done what was appropriate in relationship to Monsignor Rossiter.

Q. And did you convey that to them, that you would expect them to communicate with Monsignor Rossiter about --

A. I do not recall having conveyed that.

Q. Now, you indicated you wanted some attestation before Father Geoghan could be sent back at that time. Where did you learn or when did you come to the understanding that you needed an attestation for a priest who had molested boys to be sent back? What was that based upon?

A. It seemed -- it just -- it's common sense. It's not based on any canonical requirement or anything of that kind. It just seems to me that when you're dealing with something that is a pathology, that you can't act with regard to this person unless people who are competent can indicate to you that a certain course of action is appropriate. Had the letter come saying that this person may not be safely assigned, he wouldn't have been assigned, and I would have assumed that that was the case, and I would have trusted that. And I, you know, where would that have come from? It would have come from common sense.

Q. Do you recall if you attended any meetings with the National Catholic Conference of Bishops during the time you were a Bishop in your first assignment as a Bishop, or within the first five years of being assigned as an Archbishop to Boston, of meetings at which experts came to talk about dealing with issues that arise when a priest has been accused of molesting children?

A. I can't -- and I've tried to go back in my mind because I've heard about this in the press about such meetings. I don't have a recall of such a meeting, I have to say. But at the same time, it wouldn't have taken a meeting to convince me of the need to rely on professional expertise because I was convinced of that before coming to Boston. It isn't something that I learned in Boston.

Q. But there was no -- at that point when you first were here in Boston there was no written policy that said --

A. No, there was no written policy in place.

Q. No written policy at all?

A. And I was dealing with the case.

Q. In fact, there was no spoken policy saying, it must be a certain skilled psychiatrist making the evaluation? You at that point you just wanted to have an expert say to send him back, you didn't really qualify it more than that, a doctor?

MR TODD: Object to the form.

MR. ROGERS: Go ahead.

A. I expected a professionally competent person to make that kind of a recommendation.

Q. Had you explained the criteria to Bishop Banks and Bishop Daily what you meant by "professionally competent"?

A. I don't recall doing that. It seemed to me that it was obvious.

Q. Let me ask you now: Do you think that it is obvious, looking back?

MR. ROGERS, III: Objection.

MR. ROGERS: Objection to the form.

Q. In other words, do you think people understood what level expertise you expected at the time without explaining it with a little bit more detail?

MR. ROGERS: Object to the form, but go ahead.

A. I think that all of us understand much more fully today, not as fully as hopefully some day we will all understand, but I think all of us understand much more fully today what we're dealing with in this terrible pathology than we did earlier on. The -- as you know, I'm sure -- well, I'll leave it at that.

Q. Okay. In 1985, was Bishop D'Arcy given a new assignment?

A. In 198 -- let's see. Do you mean out of the diocese?

Q. Out of diocese.

A. Or in the diocese? I don't remember when he was assigned to become the Bishop of, to become an ordinary, but -- I'd have to look it up.

Q. All right.

A. In those days being an ordinary would have been considered a promotion.

Q. Well, let me ask you now: Moving from auxiliary Bishop or regional Bishop of Boston to being an ordinary, is that a promotion?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And the diocese that Bishop D'Arcy was sent to is?

A. South Bend, Fort Wayne.

Q. Fort Wayne?

A. Indiana.

Q. How many Catholics are in that region?

A. Oh, I couldn't tell you. But it's a good diocese, good size diocese. University of Notre Dame is there of course.

Q. That's the big center of that diocese, the Catholic center of that diocese?

A. Well, it's a significant institution.

Q. Over the years, have you and Bishop D'Arcy ever discussed Father Geoghan?

A. Not that I can recall.

Q. When is the last time you saw Bishop D'Arcy?

A. Oh, Heavens. I'm trying to think whether it was at the Bishops meeting or whether we have been together since then. It was at least I would have seen him in November at the Bishops meeting. We may have been together somewhere since then, but I can't recall that.

Q. Have you had conversations with Bishop D'Arcy in the last two years?

A. Casual conversations, yes.

Q. Have you and he ever discussed the litigation going on --

A. No.

Q. -- surrounding John Geoghan?

A. No.

MR. GORDON: We said we would stop at 12:00, reconvene at 1:00?


MR. GORDON: It's 12 o'clock. We'll suspend for an hour.

VIDEO OPERATOR: It is 12 o'clock. We're stopping the video to go off the record.

(Video off.)

(Luncheon recess.)

(Video on.)

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