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Lawyers Question Brooklyn Bishop On What He Knew of Priest Abuse Allegations

Jun 10, 2002 | AP

Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn was questioned about his dealings with a defrocked priest whose case sparked the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic church.

Daily gave a closed-door deposition on Monday to lawyers representing alleged victims of John J. Geoghan, who has been accused of molesting more than 130 children in the Boston archdiocese.

Daily served there from 1971 to 1984, beginning as secretary to Cardinal Humberto Medeiros. In March he said he regretted some of the decisions he made during that time.

Daily was asked how he handled complaints against Geoghan and about the tentative settlement under which the church was to pay dlrs 15 million to dlrs 30 million to victims, according to Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for Geoghan's alleged victims.

Plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit against Geoghan say the church reneged on the agreement; the church has said it withdrew because the settlement would have been too costly.

Patrick McSorley, 27, one of the alleged Boston victims, attended the deposition. During a break he said Daily seemed evasive and sometimes angry during the questioning.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn, Frank DeRosa, said Daily "cooperated fully with the deposition and used his memory to the best of his ability."

Daily leads the Brooklyn Diocese that serves 1.6 million Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens.

Last month, he gave prosecutors information on more than 30 of the diocese's priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors over the past 20 years, and agreed to provide information on all future cases without prior screening by the church.

A panel of U.S. bishops has called for a zero-tolerance policy toward sex abuse and defrocking of any priest with more than one such incident in his past. The proposal will be taken up at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' meeting that begins Thursday in Dallas.

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