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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court hears sexual abuse case involving Springfield Diocese

The John Adams Courthouse, home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in Boston, Massachusetts.
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The John Adams Courthouse, home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Monday in a sexual abuse case involving the Diocese of Springfield.

The plaintiff, identified as John Doe, said he was sexually abused in the 1960's by former Bishop Christopher Weldon and two priests.

In 2021 he sued the Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield, a legal entity which oversees church activity in four western Massachusetts counties, as well as eight individuals.

The diocese tried to get the case dismissed but lower courts denied the request. It appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Justice Scott Kafker took issue with an argument by the church's attorney that the court should not side with the plaintiff because he did not allege misconduct by the legal entity named in the suit.

"Then the corporation has no responsibility for anybody in your view," he said.

The church's lawyer argued that the alleged abuse by the bishop and priests occurred outside of their duties as religious leaders.

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