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Anglican Unscripted Episode 38, May 5, 2012 May 6, 2012

Posted by geoconger in AMiA, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Church of Ireland, Texas, The Episcopal Church.
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The Anglican Four have more news for you. Kevin and George bring you Today-in-History, More of The AMiA breakdown, Erastian Texans, picking Canterbury, and the weather for Ireland is spring. Peter breaks down behind-the-scenes GAFCON and AS Haley has breaking news from Christ Church, Savannah. Oh… and there is a surprise Guest this week.

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Legal loophole allows Texas diocese to escape liability for abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, June 25, 2010 p 7. June 30, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England Newspaper, Texas.
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The Rev James Tucker, circa 1968

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has escaped legal and financial liability for the child abuse committed by a former priest after the US Court of Appeal held that the state’s five year statute of limitations on sexual assault shielded the diocese from culpability.

As of 2009, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has paid out more than $2.6 billion in abuse-related costs since 1950 the US Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops reported last year.  At least six catholic US dioceses have been forced into bankruptcy by judgments or the threat of judgments from abuse victims.

The Episcopal Church has so far escaped the massive financial and legal liability stemming from clergy abuse cases, however, lawyers in Texas had hoped to breach the church’s defences in the case of John Doe v. St Stephens Episcopal School and the Diocese of Texas.

On June 18, the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by three men that charged the church-affiliated boy’s boarding school and the diocese with breach of fiduciary duty, civil conspiracy, fraud and fraud concealment, negligence and negligent misrepresentation, and vicarious liability as time-barred.

The appeals court held that the three men, former school boys designated as John Doe I, John Doe II and John Doe III, could not hold the school and the diocese responsible for the actions of the school chaplain as more than five years had passed since the abuse took place.

The court stated that the Rev. James Lydell Tucker “sexually abused Plaintiffs between 1964 and 1968 while they were students at St. Stephen’s. At the time, Tucker was the chaplain and a member of the faculty at the school.”

The court further stated that in 1968 two of the boys “notified then-headmaster Dr. Allen Becker of the abuse. He instructed them not to tell anyone, including their parents.”

In 2006 the Diocese of Texas began an investigation into Tucker’s actions after the plaintiffs made their story known to classmates at a school reunion.  In 2008 the three men filed lawsuits seeking damages against the school and the diocese for the trauma they suffered at the hands of Fr. Tucker.

Under Texas law the statute of limitations for personal injury in sexual assault cases is five years after the crime takes place.  However, if the victim is a child, the five year period begins when the child turns eighteen.

In its defence, the Diocese argued that all of the plaintiffs had turned 18 by 1969 and the statute of limitations prevented suit after 1974.  The three plaintiffs responded that the state’s delayed discovery rule should apply.  It holds that the statute of limitations should not begin to run when “the alleged wrongful act and resulting injury are inherently undiscoverable at the time they occurred” but only begin when the abuse “may be objectively verified” should apply in this case.

The three plaintiffs argued that this rule should apply because their “suppression and repression” of their ordeal prevented them from understanding the extent and ramifications of the abuse.

However, the court found that all three men had mentioned to other people at least five years prior to their filing of a lawsuit that they had been “molested and that they have been aware, at least periodically, of the molestation since they turned eighteen.”

“Although Plaintiffs present affidavits from a psychiatrist asserting they have suppressed and repressed the abuse, we find the facts of this case insufficient to show that the sexual abuse was inherently undiscoverable,” the courts held, adding that while the three men did “engage in psychological coping mechanisms,” these mechanisms did not completely “block all memory of the abuse, as demonstrated by Plaintiffs’ comments about the abuse to others.”

The appeals court upheld the lower court’s judgment order dismissing the lawsuit against the diocese and school.

Texas Diocese facing multi-million lawsuit: CEN 5.29.09 May 29, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England Newspaper, Texas.
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The Diocese of Texas is a defendant in a lawsuit seeking £28 million in damages for allegedly covering up the molestation of school boys by an Episcopal priest.

In extracts of a transcript from a 2008 pre-trial hearing printed in the Houston Press, the former chaplain of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, the Rev James Tucker is accused of having molested students at the boarding school that caters to Texas’s upper classes.

After allegations of abuse were made against Mr Tucker, who served as chaplain to the boy’s school from 1958 to 1968, the Diocese of Texas transferred him to another school in the diocese, and then assigned him to St James’ Episcopal Church and School in Austin, which served the diocese’s black community. Mr Tucker retired in 1994 but was deposed by the diocese in 2008.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Texas Diocese facing multi-million lawsuit