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

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Q. Your Eminence, if you'll take a look at Page 2 of Dr. Greenblatt's letter, you'll note that the attached letter concerning Patrick McSorley begins with --

A. Excuse me, this is 234?

Q. 234.

A. Okay.

Q. 234. Patrick McSorley. You'll see the second page of Exhibit 234 is from comprehensive psychiatric resource, and concerns Patrick McSorley. He's one of the plaintiffs in this matter. It indicates on the second page of the letter in the second full paragraph from the bottom that Mr. McSorley denies current suicidal ideation. He has been suicidal in the recent past per his report and substantiated by records. If you'll note with regard to Exhibit 233, the very last paragraph on Page 2, this is with regard now to Mr. Pezzone, another plaintiff in the Geoghan 86 cases, that in the second sentence of that last paragraph, "Documentation increasingly notes overt psychiatric symptomatology, culminating in a suicide attempt by an overdose on 9/14/92." And I do this because I need to know if you knew last Friday that some of the Geoghan victims were suicidal.

A. I --

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

A. I had been told --

MR. ROGERS, III: Excepting communication --

MR. ROGERS: Excepting communications with counsel.

A. Excepting communication with counsel, I did not know that.

Q. Had anybody told the finance commission or committee -- is it a finance commission or finance committee at the Archdiocese?

A. Council.

Q. Had anybody told them that some of the Geoghan 86 victims were suicidal?

THE WITNESS: Excuse me.

MR. ROGERS: We need to --

MR. GORDON: Sure.

MR. ROGERS: I think we need to talk for one second.

THE WITNESS: With me?

MR. ROGERS: No, with Owen.

VIDEO OPERATOR: Are we going off the record?

MR. ROGERS: Yes. We're going off the record.

VIDEO OPERATOR: The time is 1:22. We're stopping the video to go off the record. (Video off.) (Discussion off the record.) (Video on.)

VIDEO OPERATOR: The time is 1:30. We're back on the record.

MR. ROGERS: Can we have that question read back, Mr. Gordon.

MR. GORDON: Could you read back the question. (Question read.)

MR. ROGERS: And "them" being the financial council at the meeting on Friday?

MR. GORDON: Yes.

MR. ROGERS: I believe that the proceedings of the finance council on Friday, because of my presence and participation, would be cloaked with the attorney-client privilege. And that said, with an understanding that we will not have waived the attorney-client privilege in that regard, I'm prepared to have the Cardinal go forward and testify, if that's an acceptable understanding.

MR. GORDON: All right.

MR. TODD: Is that acceptable?

MR. GORDON: Yes, that is acceptable.

MR. ROGERS: Fine. So the question?

Q. The question, Your Eminence, did anyone tell the financial council that any of the Geoghan 86 victims were suicidal?

A. It might be helpful if I said a word about the finance council.

MR. ROGERS: Just answer.

Q. Why don't you answer the question? Then we'll spend some time on the finance council, trust me.

A. The answer is yes.

Q. Okay.

MR. GORDON: Let me have this marked as an exhibit. This would be 235. (Document marked as Exhibit 235 for identification.) (Document exhibited to witness.)

Q. Cardinal Law, you've been given a two-page document which is marked as Exhibit 235, and which has as the first page what appears to be the stationery of the Archdiocese of Boston Office of Communications and which has in bold letters, News Release, and it appears to have a fax date of March 12, 2002, the second page of which appears to be a copy of a press release issued presumably by the Archdiocese Office of Communications. Are you familiar with a press release that was issued on or about March 12, 2002 by the Archdiocese Office of Communications?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. And there is in the first paragraph -- could you read what it says in the first paragraph?

A. Sure. "Regarding today's settlement agreement, Bernard Cardinal Law says that our hope is that a resolution of these cases will continue the healing process. This settlement is an important step in reaching closure for these victims who have long endured the damage done to them by John Geoghan. They are courageous individuals who deserve and need our full support and prayers, I pray every day for their peace and recovery and final resolution for all victims".

Q. From that paragraph you just said you said this settlement is an important step; is that correct?

A. Correct.

MR. TODD: Settlement agreement.

A. As I understand, this settlement agreement. I also understood --

Q. Well, let me ask questions. So at this point your statement indicates that there was an agreement to settlement the Geoghan 86 cases, as far as you understood?

A. What the statement indicates is that I had hope that this settlement would be a resolution of these cases.

Q. But does your next sentence not say, "This settlement is"?

A. That's right.

Q. Okay. Is there anything conditional of that settlement? Does it say, "It is hoped this settlement will be," or "this settlement may be"? Doesn't it just say "this settlement is an important step"?

A. It says this settlement is an important step.

Q. Was it your understanding that you had reached, you had reached an understanding with the Geoghan 86 victims as to how those cases would be settled?

A. It was my understanding that the settlement would be consummated upon the securing of 86 signatures on the side of those bringing the case, and 17 signatures on those against whom the cases were being made. And it was my hope at that point that all of those signatures would be obtained. At this point I wasn't certain that there would be 86 signatures, and I was aware of the fact that the lack of one signature could vitiate the agreement, but that what had been agreed to were the terms upon which the various signatories would base their judgment on signing on.

Q. Had you received information that some of the 86 plaintiffs might not sign? Outside of counsel.

MR. ROGERS: Fine. Thank you.

A. No. But I -- no.

Q. Had you --

A. Nor had I received information that 86 would sign.

Q. Well, did -- well, didn't you receive information either through the media or other sources that the counsel for those 86 victims had indicated that a settlement had been reached, didn't you at least know that much? Outside of from what you had learned from your counsel.

A. I'm speaking about the signatures, the signatures. At the time that this, as I recall, at the time that this agreement was reached with, among the counsels, signatures were not yet obtained and I realize that that came after that.

Q. Was there any condition that you were aware of that had been told to the plaintiffs for the 17 signatures to be obtained from the defendants?

A. No.

Q. So did the plaintiffs have any understanding that there was a condition?

MR. TODD: Object to the form.

MR. ROGERS: Object to the form.

Q. Do you understand that any information was conveyed to the plaintiffs that the defendants had a condition before they would sign?

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

A. I'm not sure I understand the import of the question.

Q. Would it be fair to say you're having difficulty understanding the question?

A. Yes.

Q. Rather than the import?

A. Yes, yes, yes.

Q. Because if it's the import.... All right. As of the time the agreement was reached and this press release was issued on March 12, were you aware of any conditions that were conveyed to the plaintiffs other than the 86 of them signing to happen for the agreement to become effective?

MR. TODD: Object to the form.

MR. ROGERS: Object to the form.

A. No.

Q. During the negotiations on the agreement, were you aware of the terms that were being arranged or that were being agreed to?

MR. ROGERS: Other than through discussions with counsel?

MR. GORDON: Well, I'm not asking how he learned, but did he know of the substance of what he's saying to the public about. He's making a statement that there's an agreement. He had to know something about what he was saying or conveying to the public.

MR. ROGERS: Well, that's a different issue.

MR. GORDON: To that extent --

Q. Did you understand what the agreement was that was reached?

A. In general terms, yes.

Q. Did you say to anybody in the public that, well, maybe we won't go forward with this?

A. This is my public statement on this issue.

Q. So your public statement was that on March 12 you intended if the 86 plaintiffs -- signed?

A. It was my hope that this would go forward.

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