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Friday, February 14, 2020
What? Donohue Approvingly Cites Cosby, Weinstein Lawyers To Defend Catholic Priests

If you're talking pointers from the defense lawyers for Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein in order to find ways to defend Catholic priests against claims of sexual abuse, well, that's simply not a good look. Yet that's exactly what Bill Donohue in his Jan. 23 column, which really does begins this way: "One does not have to like Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein (I fought with the latter for decades) to like what their lawyers are saying in their defense. There are some lines of defense that are not only persuasive, they have direct application to accused priests."

Donohue goes on to approvingly cite Cosby's and Weinstein's defense lawyers for blaming the "public panic" and "hysteria" sparked by the #MeToo movement on the sexual abuse charges against their clients and for attacking their accusers as willing participants whose backgrounds must be attacked. And, yes, he totally goes there:

Everything that these lawyers have said about their clients is true of accused priests these days. Even more so.

A moral panic has indeed arisen in cases of clergy sexual abuse. It is fed by a hostile media, late-night talk-show hosts on TV, cable outlets like HBO, and others. Old cases of abuse are presented as if they are new, leaving the false impression that the scandal is ongoing. Pernicious generalizations about priests—and sick jokes—are made with abandon. Movies spread lies about the Catholic hierarchy. And so on.

This has less to do with the #MeToo movement than it does with vintage anti-Catholicism. It is no secret that the cultural elites harbor an animus against Catholicism. These kinds of atmospherics make it difficult for accused priests to get a fair trial. Add to this the cherry picking of accused priests by state attorney generals, and the table is set for conviction.

What Weinstein’s lawyer says about women accusers is certainly applicable to priest accusers. Some are telling the truth but others are lying through their teeth, seeking revenge against an institution they despise. And just as Weinstein is a “powerful guy” who is easily exploited because of who he is, the Catholic Church is a “powerful” institution that is also easily exploited.

It would do the Catholic Church wonders if more aggressive attorneys such as those employed by Cosby and Weinstein were hired. No priest should be a sitting duck for rapacious victims’ lawyers.

Donahue added with apparent pride that Weinstein defense lawyer Donna Rotunno "is a Chicago lawyer who went to a Catholic college."

Even we can't believe Donohue took this stance.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:55 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2020 8:58 AM EST

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