Priest suing New York Catholic diocese alleged jurist has church ties
A federal judge has denied a request by John Aretakis, a lawyer knownlocally for battling the Albany Catholic Diocese, that the judge removehimself from a case because of his personal ties to the church.
Aretakis' client, the Rev. Robert Hoatson, is suing the Archdiocese ofNew York and others. Hoatson claims he was suspended from his positionas a priest because he exposed clergy sex abuse, according to courtpapers.
Inan order dated Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Crotty wrote thatAretakis' sworn statement supporting his request for the judge'sremoval "does not contain any facts" and similarly disparaged Hoatson'sown affidavits.
"This is absolute nonsense," Crotty wrote of one particular series of allegations.
Headded later, "The 'appearances' Plaintiff dredges up are based on amake-believe speculation. Adopting Plaintiff's theory would mean thatwhenever the fertile mind of a party or a counsel can create afictional connection, then recusal must follow."
Hoatson claimedamong other things that Crotty's brother headed the Guild of CatholicLawyers of the Archdiocese of New York. He suggested Crotty's wife maybe involved with church financial or real estate affairs, among otheralleged family ties.
"I am not making the argument that aCatholic Judge should not sit on such a case," Hoatson wrote. "But mycounsel and I both believe that a Catholic Judge whose family hasfinancial and longstanding ties and close relations with a litigantadverse to me should take the reasonable or prudent step of removinghimself from this case."
Aretakis, a New York City lawyer with asignificant Albany presence and a home in Rensselaer County, said herespected Crotty's decision on the recusal issue.
"We don't look at this as a setback," he said. "It's just something Father Hoatson wanted to have done."
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