Attorney Douglas Mahoney reflects on priest sex abuse cases in a Connecticut Law Tribune article. Below is an excerpt from the article:
Bridgeport attorney Douglas Mahoney said he has four priest sex abuse cases pending, all against the Diocese of Bridgeport. His first such case dates to 1993, and he said he has been involved in about 75 clergy cases since then.
“At first, it was hard for people to believe it was true,” Mahoney said. “There was an assumption that it was false. People couldn’t believe a trusted person like a priest would commit these kinds of acts. Now, people realize it has happened and are willing to keep their minds open to the possibility that allegations are true.”
When his firm, now called Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney, brought its first case in 1993, “there was a lot of press coverage, which made victims more comfortable coming forward at around the same time,” Mahoney recalled. “People realized they were not alone.”
Mahoney said all the cases his firm handled settled before trial. “So few of these sexual abuse cases have been tried, there is a lot of uncertainty about what a jury would do, so both sides feel there is more risk with going to trial,” Mahoney said. He drew a contrast to personal injury cases involving car accidents, for which trial lawyers have a better sense of how juries are likely to react.
Mahoney said he hasn’t seen any increase in claims in recent years. Instead, he asserted, “it’s tapering off.”
“I would like to think that the church is doing the right thing and removing people from ministry,” Mahoney said. “If the problem is being addressed, then we should see fewer cases.”