Attorneys for scores of alleged sex abuse victims yesterday questioned Brooklyn Bishop Thomas Daily in an effort to make the Boston archdiocese stand by a multimillion-dollar settlement.
At about 4 p.m., after an interrogation that had begun in the morning, Daily’s spokesman, Frank DeRosa, told reporters that Daily had “cooperated fully with the deposition and used his memory to the best of his ability.”
But an alleged victim allowed to sit in on the sessions, held at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel near LaGuardia Airport, said Daily was frequently evasive and testy in his responses. “It seems to me he’s got a serious case of selective amnesia,” said Patrick McSorley, 27.
Referring to Daily’s behavior while he was an administrator with the Boston archdiocese in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he said, “It seemed like to me he was all for protecting the priests and not the victims.”
McSorley maintains he was sexually assaulted at the age of 12 by John Geoghan, a now-defrocked priest serving 9 years in jail in another abuse case.
One of McSorley’s attorneys, Mitchell Garabedian, said numerous church documents show Daily ignored repeated warnings from parents and others that Geoghan was molesting children two decades ago.
Garabedian said one document showed Daily wrote a recommendation to a college in Italy for Geoghan, even after allegations had surfaced that Geoghan was a pedophile.
“How can you trust these people?” Garabedian asked, referring to Catholic bishops. “Now you expect us to think that they can police themselves?”
Garabedian was referring to current attempts by American bishops to develop a new policy dealing more aggressively with abusive priests. The national meeting of bishops convenes Thursday in Dallas.
Yesterday, Garabedian said that sometime in the next seven weeks he might also depose Rockville Centre Bishop William Murphy, who was an auxiliary bishop in Boston before his appointment to Long Island last year.
Daily, dressed in clerical collar and black suit, remained inside the hotel throughout the day, accompanied by a five-member legal team from Boston.
“It’s in the hands of the lawyers,” Daily told Newsday in the morning, refusing to answer questions. When approached as they left the hotel in the afternoon, his lawyers also refused to comment.
Garabedian said he represented 140 people who say they were abused by Geoghan between 1967 and 1997. The 1997 case is under investigation in the Boston area, the attorney said.
Eighty-six of those alleged victims said they believed they had come to a $15 million to $30 million settlement with the Boston archdiocese, but last month the archdiocese said Cardinal Bernard Law’s Finance Council rejected the deal, citing the huge burden on the church’s coffers.
Attorneys for the alleged victims are taking depositions to try to prove the settlement was legally binding. They are also gathering material to use if their civil suits go to trial.