In a rare stroke of good news for Rome vis-à-vis the sexual abuse crisis, attorneys for three alleged victims in Kentucky have said they’re dropping what many analysts regarded as the most serious civil lawsuit against the Holy See in American courts.
Louisville-based attorney William McMurry gave two reasons for abandoning the case of O’Bryan v. Holy See, one legal and the other practical.
As a legal matter, McMurry told media outlets in mid-August, the Vatican’s sovereign immunity under American law set the bar too high. More practically, McMurry said, he couldn’t find additional victims willing to come forward who haven’t already been part of a lawsuit against the church. Without more plaintiffs, it’s unlikely that any settlement or verdict would have been sufficient to offset the costs of litigation, even if the lawsuit had prevailed.
The O’Bryan case was originally filed in 2004, and McMurry had hoped to turn it into a class-action suit on behalf of thousands of victims nationwide.