There's a story in yesterday's New York Times [free registration required, although I think using 'slashdot2000' for user name and password will work] that talks about the explosion in the number of sexual abuse lawsuits against the Catholic church. Seems it used to be that only 'marginal' lawyers and law firms (and by 'marginal' I think they mean 'marginally profitable') would take these cases. Now that the depth of the abuse is starting to come out, the attention of Larger Firms has been attracted (and by 'Larger' I mean 'larger profitability'). This concerns the attorney who is the primary figure in this story, one Jeffrey Anderson. Mr. Anderson has been on a Crusade (capital 'C' added) ever since he found out that his daughter "had been molested as a girl by a therapist who had formerly been a Catholic priest." I want to make it clear here that I feel for them, as nobody should ever have to go through what Anderson's daughter did, and if it turns out that the Catholic church is found to be institutionally responsible for covering things up they should be institutionally punished. But I'm wondering why Anderson has gone after the Catholic church--to the extent that he has sued the Church under racketeering laws--rather than the American Psychiatric Association. What responsibility did the Church have for the behavior of the therapist who molested Anderson's daughter, since he was no longer a priest?
But back to the smell of money. Apparently the rise in the number of cases worries Anderson:
"'I live in fear that someone will bring a case that should not be brought, like the Bernardin fiasco,' he said, referring to the abuse charges made against the late Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago and then recanted."
Well, that's good to see that he's concerned about destroying the reputation of an innocent man. Hmm, wait a second--let's check that article again and finish the quote:
"I worry about a public relations setback."
And lawyers wonder why a lot of people think a lot of them are scumbags.