Tag Archives: Sexual Abuse

Can Match.com Be Sued For Setting A Woman Up With A Murderer?

On Friday, it was reported that a Nevada woman has sued Match.com for “failing to disclose dangers of online dating.”   Mary Kay Beckman’s experience was certainly traumatic: she alleges she met Wade Ridley through the site and dated him for a mere eight days. After a couple of harassing text messages, he disappeared for four months then surprised her in her garage, stabbing her repeatedly, stomping on her, and leaving her for dead. She has since had three brain surgeries, as well as “extensive psychological counseling, dental care to repair her jaw, treatment with eye and ear specialists to ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

The Unique Federal Sexual Abuse Claim In The Kevin Clash (Elmo’s Voice) Lawsuit

My children are young enough that Elmo’s voice still carries considerable weight in our home, and so I was disheartened to hear last week’s allegations that Kevin Clash, Elmo’s creator and voice, had a sexual relationship with a teenager. The alleged victim recanted — perhaps in exchange for a settlement, the reports I’ve seen have been unclear — but the issue resurfaced yesterday with the filing of a lawsuit against Kevin Clash in New York by a second alleged victim. The New York Times has a copy of the complaint; the new alleged victim, now 24 years old, claims Clash ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

What Did The Prosecution Prove About Monsignor Lynn?

This post is cross-posted on the Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog. On Thursday, after the prosecution closed their case, Judge Sarmina swiftly dismissed the conspiracy charges against Monsignor Lynn and Father Brennan.  Although the move caught some observers by surprise, it was likely not a surprise to the prosecutors.  To prove a criminal conspiracy, the Commonwealth has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants had a “shared criminal intent,” defined by Pennsylvania law as “the common understanding that a particular criminal objective is to be accomplished.” Commonwealth v. Lambert, 795 A.2d 1010 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2002). Whatever Monsignor Lynn’s ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

There’s No “Normal” Way For A Clergy Abuse Or Sexual Assault Victim To Act

This post is cross-posted on the Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog. As Ralph Cipriano reported, the defense attorney for Father Brennan spent a lot of time cross-examining the prosecution's chief witness against Father Brennan by going into the alleged victim’s reaction to the molestation, including why the alleged victim — an adolescent boy at the time — did not call out to his mother afterwards, why the alleged victim took a subsequent motorcycle ride with Father Brennan, and why the alleged victim didn’t report the assault to authorities sooner. Father Brennan’s attorney, coincidentally named William Brennan, has an important job ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

Monsignor Lynn And The Duty To Prevent Child Abuse

This post is cross-posted on our Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog, where investigative reporter Ralph Cipriano is covering the criminal trial of Monsignor Lynn. From the war on drugs to criminal copyright infringement, a number of commentators, legal scholars, politicians and even sitting judges have criticized the breadth of American criminal law, like the prevalence of non-violent or “victimless” crimes that don’t have a direct victim, and the Draconian mandatory penalties that are meted out, even where the judge and jury applying those laws think that less severe penalties would be appropriate. As a consequence of this “overcriminalization,” the United ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

The Ethics Of Fighting An Expired Case In The Press

One of the points I stressed when writing about the Sandusky child abuse scandal at Penn State was the role of the statute of limitations: due to the timing of the last change in Pennsylvania's childhood sexual abuse statute, some of Sandusky's victims may be outside the time in which they can file a claim, while others can still file. Putting aside the efforts to extend the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania — long stalled thanks to the efforts of the Catholic Conference — there's the simple question for lawyers representing those victims: how do you advocate for a client ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

Do Lawyers Defending The Catholic Church Live On Another Planet?

As I've mentioned before, I think the motivations that compel lawyers to deny reality while defending some clients are varied and complex, but it cannot be denied that, in many cases, the defense is premised not on providing explanations or raising genuine doubts, but on burying the truth. Lest we forget what brought us to the ongoing criminal trial of Monsignor William Lynn, here is how the grand jury report against him begins: In September 2003, a grand jury of local citizens released a report detailing a sad history of sexual abuse by priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. That ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

The Legal Effect of Paterno’s Death

In less than three months, Joe Paterno went from one of the most revered figures in sports and a Pennsylvania institution to being implicated in a scandal, terminated from the job he had held for generations, and excoriated by the media to a historical figure who is no longer with us. He passed away over the weekend at the age of 85. A memento mori indeed. I did not attend Penn State, so I'll leave the remembrances to others. Paterno died, however, amidst a national scandal, two criminal prosecutions, and likely more than a dozen civil lawsuits to be filed. ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

The Ethics Of Using Money To Link Criminal And Civil Sexual Abuse Cases

Norm Pattis' latest blog post raises an issue near and dear to me: the ethics of personal injury lawyers. I certainly don't think personal injury lawyers are above reproach, and I've commented before on some of the stupid things they can do, but I'm not going to sit quietly and nod politely when a lawyer in another field claims its unethical for an alleged victim's lawyer to zealously represent their client. Norm is a criminal defense lawyer; as he posted a few days ago, the next year brings for him "trials involving child sex abuse, child pornography, drugs." I'm going to ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn

Sandusky Civil Law Update: Insurance, New Lawsuit, and the Preliminary Hearing

My post on the potential civil lawsuits arising from the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal at PSU still generates a fair amount of traffic, mostly from people looking for updates on the latest legal developments. If the internet asks, it shall receive. There have been four major developments relating to the case: A preliminary hearing for the criminal charges against Tim Curley and Gary Schultz; The filing of another civil lawsuit against Sandusky, Penn State, and The Second Mile; The filing of a declaratory judgment action by Federal Insurance Company of New Jersey, the insurance company for The Second Mile, to obtain a ... Continue Reading

Tweet Like Email LinkedIn