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Spotlight Report

Attorney in lawsuits planning to depose cardinal

By Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff, 1/10/2002

A s Cardinal Bernard F. Law yesterday issued an apology for his role in reassigning John J. Geoghan, an attorney for those accusing Law of failing to properly supervise the former priest filed legal notice saying he intends to question Law under oath to determine what the cardinal knew about Geoghan's behavior.

In the newly filed court documents, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said he plans to ask Law more than two dozen questions to probe Law's knowledge of allegations that Geoghan had sexually molested children during 22 years of parish work before Law reassigned him to St. Julia's Church in Weston in 1984.

The documents also say Law will be asked for all information he and the archdiocese may have about any counseling or therapy Geoghan received from 1965 to through 1995. In addition, Law will be asked for the names of all officials in the archdiocese who played a role in evaluating Geoghan.

Because of legal rulings in response to motions filed by the Globe, Law's deposition and the depositions of other church officials will become public documents.

Law is a defendant in 25 of the 84 sexual molestation lawsuits against Geoghan and the church that Garabedian is handling.

Although at least one other US cardinal has been deposed previously in a sexual misconduct case, most allegations of clergy sexual abuse have been settled out of court without involving a cardinal.

Depositions, which are given under oath, are statements taken by lawyers for accusers and defendants in lawsuits as preparation for trial. In his notice, Garabedian said he intends to take Law's deposition Jan. 16; the date is subject to negotiation and could change.


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