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Lawsuit Against Jackson Diocese Far From Settled

Alleged Abuse Victims Comment On Boston Case

Sep 10, 2003 | Alleged Jackson victims of abusive priests say a local lawsuit is far from over.

Johnny Rainer is one member in a group of about 20 people suing the Jackson diocese.

"There is no way to compensate people for what they've lost," Rainer said. "This is more to me an acknowledgement by the church that they are willing to be repentant."

Rainer said he was abused for several years by a priest in the Jackson diocese, and while he was glad to hear about the settlement in Boston, he feels there is a reason the case didn't go before a jury.

"I think the last place they wanted to be was in court where they would be responsible and acknowledge this in some way," Rainer said. "This way, the church saves face and the people who were victimized go on with their lives and rebuild their lives in a more positive way."

Leaders of the Jackson diocese wouldn't comment on the settlement in Boston. Bishop Latino said his views are already outlined in a newsletter to parishioners.

"My heart goes out to all the victims of sexual abuse by church ministers," Latino wrote. "I encourage all victims to come forward so that the healing process can begin."

Latino did not mention the lawsuit against the Jackson diocese, but he did apologize again and again for the victims' suffering.

The Morrison brothers filed the first lawsuit against the Jackson diocese last year. They claim the Rev. George Broussard abused them in the early 1970s. The lawsuit also names former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, who worked in Jackson at the time.

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