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  Home :: 2007 January :: The following is the text of a recent affidavit made by Father Robert Hoatson, whose RICO lawsuit is being challenged by the pa
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The following is the text of a recent affidavit made by Father Robert Hoatson, whose RICO lawsuit is being challenged by the parties he is suing.
 
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
______________________________________________________

FR. ROBERT M. HOATSON,

Plaintiff,AFFIDAVIT IN
OPPOSITION TO
DEFENDANTS’
MOTION
-against-
 CIVIL ACTION
No.: 05-CV-10467
(Hon. Paul Crotty)
NEW YORK ARCHDIOCESE, CARDINAL
EDWARD EGAN, THE NEWARK
ARCHDIOCESE, ARCHBISHOP JOHN J. MYERS,
CONGREGATION OF CHRISTIAN BROTHERS,
FR. JOHN O'BRIEN, BR. LAURENCE BOSCHETTO,
BR. PAUL KEVIN HENNESSY, THE ROMAN
CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ALBANY, AND
BISHOP HOWARD HUBBARD

______________________________________________________



I, Father Robert Hoatson, do set out and swear to the following facts under the penalty of perjury:

1. I am the Plaintiff in the above entitled matter, and I make thisaffidavit in response to and in opposition to the motion to dismiss,motion for sanctions, and particularly the RICO count of my lawsuit,and with respect to the supplemental papers submitted to the court bythe defendants.

2. Contrary to the defendants' contentions, this is my lawsuit, myallegations, and not the claims of my lawyer, John Aretakis. I hiredhim because he has successfully represented and advocated for over twohundred victims of clergy sexual abuse. When we filed this case, Mr.Aretakis had no pending cases that contained RICO allegations. As avictim and supporter of victims, I have taken on the moral obligationto speak out about the causes of this abuse crisis and crimes againstthe vulnerable in an effort to expose corruption and criminal activityin the Catholic Church, and to expose the crimes that were committedagainst me. In one case of clergy abuse handled by Mr. Aretakis, thedefendant Bishop Howard Hubbard paid him a settlement of just under onemillion dollars. Mr. Aretakis did not file this lawsuit until heinvestigated my claims for several months, spoke to several priests whosubstantiated my claims, met with me and reviewed my documentationduring many meetings.

3. Mr. Aretakis had only one case where a RICO count was dismissed andI believe it was primarily because the plaintiff could not producedamages to his business or property, and that crimes of the Church werealleged, but the crimes were not committed upon the plaintiff. This isnot so in my case. Raymond Fisher, an attorney for Archbishop JohnMyers in this case is on the record in the Angie Bouchard v. Cardinal Egan case as calling Mr. Aretakis one of the finest and capable "victims of clergy abuse" lawyers in the country.

4. The defendants refused to agree to my request to dismiss the RICOcount without prejudice and their supplemental papers relied on thereference of the attorney for the Albany Diocese and Bishop HowardHubbard to one case; namely, Magnum et. al, v. Archdiocese of Philadelphia et al(Case No. 2:06-cv-02589-LDD) U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84123. This caseconcerned a RICO charge that was dismissed. The claims set out in mycase have not been attempted or dismissed by any state or federal courtin the country. The defendants have not produced the pleadings,affidavits or any relevant evidence in that case. The case cited is notcontrolling or binding precedent for my case.

5. The defendants claim that the case cited applies to my case againstthe Archdioceses of New York and Newark, the Diocese of Albany, theirbishops, and the Congregation of Christian Brothers and two ChristianBrothers. It is distinguishable from my case and is not binding in theSecond Circuit.

6. There are enormous dissimilarities in the case cited by the defendants and that of my case, including but not limited to:

  1. Thetwelve plaintiffs in the Philadelphia case were not employees of theRoman Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I have beenan employee of the Catholic Church in various capacities for overthirty years, and my reporting of facts, allegations, and observationof criminal acts is from an employee of the enterprise or organization.

  2. The twelve plaintiffs in the "Magnum" case were not members ofa religious order or clergy at the time of their abuse. I was sexuallyabused by members of the religious order of which I was a member fornearly twenty-five years and reported my abuse during and shortly afterthe sexual abuse, and as a result was further harmed and retaliatedagainst for doing so. Not only were sexual crimes committed upon me,but the cover-up of these crimes, once I reported them to mysupervisors, were also crimes.

  3. The plaintiffs in the "Magnum" case were never abused whilebeing employed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and had nothing tofear by reporting their abuse since they were not "insiders" in theorganization or criminal enterprise when they reported or endured theirabuse. My life and career were and are at risk from "insiders" becauseI reported and endured the abuse while I was an employee of the sameemployers and enterprise as the defendants.

  4. The twelve plaintiffs cited in "Magnum" did not suffer harm orinjury to their businesses or incomes as a result of their abuse. I wasfired from my job as a priest for speaking truthfully to legislatorsand law enforcement personnel and, as a result, was denied necessaryand crucial income that would allow me to live adequately and savemoney for my life and my retirement. Serious damage has been done to mybusiness and property as a result of the sexual abuse, harassment, andretaliation I have endured, and my career has been taken from me by thedefendants who have not denied my allegations and their criminalcover-up of crimes I have alleged. I am currently unable to work in theonly field in which I am educated and trained.

  5. The plaintiffs in "Magnum" were not prevented from earning asmuch income as they were able as a result of their abuse. I, by being"fired" from my ministry and then placed on leave several days after Ifiled this action, was not and have not been able to function as apriest. Because I cannot work in any other venue except the CatholicChurch, I was and am denied the ability to earn income, and sustaineddamage to my business and my property. My career as a priest is mybusiness and the defendants have acted to deny me the ability tofunction in my career. This aspect of damages is oftentimes thegraveyard of RICO claims, and I have satisfied my burden in thisregard. As referenced in matrimonial law, a career and a professionallicense or degree is a property right capable of being valued.

  6. The plaintiffs do not allege in "Magnum" that the Archdioceseof Philadelphia conspired against them as a group or individually toprevent harm to their business or property. In my case, the AlbanyDiocese used the phone lines to contact the Newark Archdiocese withinminutes of my testimony before the New York State Legislature on May20, 2003, to report that I had criticized the Roman Catholic Church andits bishops, in particular, and called for the resignation of anybishops who had covered up clergy sexual abuse. I was summarilydismissed from my occupation as a Catholic priest and educator withindays of my May 20, 2003 testimony to the legislature. This was and isconsistent with repeated retaliation against me each time I tried toreport my being criminally and sexually abused by others in the Church,as well as chilling my freedom of speech rights.

  7. The Archdiocese of New York used the phone lines and mail tocontact the Archdiocese of Newark to report that I had reported sexualabuse by a former Christian Brother and current New York Archdiocesanpriest without my permission. The Newark Archdiocese to this day hasrelied on that information from the Archdiocese of New York toretaliate against and harm me. None of the plaintiffs in the "Magnum"case claims harassment, retaliation, harm, a violation of civil andconstitutional rights, and loss of employment because of his actions.

  8. The plaintiffs in "Magnum" were never "eliminated" from theCatholic Church because of their charges because they were not part ofthe "governance" of the Church. However, I, as a priest, am part of thegovernance structure of the church and potentially could become theHead of the Roman Catholic Church.

  9. The defendants had to "eliminate" me and cause injury to myperson (career) and business (income) because I had information and wasspeaking out regarding same that would adversely affect the continuedracketeering efforts of the Church and Church leaders, which have beenwidely recognized both by Catholics themselves (i.e., former GovernorFrank Keating called the actions of bishops "Mafia-like") andprofessional researchers (i.e., a 2007 survey by two VillanovaUniversity professors) who concluded that 85 % of Catholic dioceses inthe United States embezzled money from the faithful in a given year.These researchers were not "looking for" these results during theirresearch.

  10. The Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, in an investigation thatlasted years, concluded that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was"criminal" in its policies and procedures regarding sexually abusiveclerics. Unfortunately, outdated laws regarding statutes of limitationsdid not allow the "Magnum" plaintiffs to bring their cases to courts oflaw. But, I reported my sexual abuse to appropriate religiousauthorities in the late 1970s or early 1980s during the time the abusewas occurring.

7.It also appears that the defendants do not recognize the authority ofthe courts or this court. I filed this claim on December 13, 2005, andon that date this court was assigned. Rather than follow directives andorders from the court, and awaiting rulings and or orders from thiscourt which had jurisdiction over my claims on December 13, 2005, thedefendants instead conspired to have me removed from active ministry,and, in effect, fired me again, the week after my suit was filed. Thedefendants have publicly conceded that I was fired because of theinstitution of this suit.

8. I believe this and other courts may take judicial notice of thepublic revelations of the past five years of the clergy sexual abusescandal. There has been a massive amount of reporting, litigation, andpublic disclosure of not only sexual abuse by priests (includingagainst me) but also of the organized and intentional acts of bishopsand Cardinals, such as in this case, of cover-up and the moving andshifting around of predators of the innocent or vulnerable, like me. Ibelieve at an oral argument on a prior motion, this court acknowledgedthat the Church has been rocked or severely damaged by theserevelations of the past few years.

9. As a result of my immersion in and employment by the Roman CatholicChurch in various capacities and organizations of the defendants forover thirty years, and my efforts to get my employers to exposesexually abusive priests including those who abused me, I haveexperienced ongoing and continuous acts of sexual abuse, retaliation,harassment, and workplace abuse. Two years ago, in the aftermath of myfiring and severe harassment and retaliation by church leaders, I wasdiagnosed with a life-threatening kidney disease called C1QNephropathy. The cause of this disease is unknown and it is rarelydiagnosed in adults. A recent United Kingdom study indicated thatsexual abuse of a person at a young age results in risk of physicalillness in later years. Furthermore, the long-term effects of stress orstress that remains over a long period of time seem to raise the riskof illness in later years. I have suffered from unending stressfulsituations in my thirty-plus years as a church employee, mostly due tothe presence of sexual abusers in religious life and the priesthood andthose who shield them from prosecution and retaliate against those whoattempt to hold them accountable, and especially due to the sexualabuse that I experienced for many years. Even former federal prosecutorand Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, who led a national review boardand was hired by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,described the Church and its leaders as acting like the Mafia. Like me,Governor Keating has an inside view from which to make such a claim. Hedid not merely use "colorful" language; as a former federal prosecutor,he knew exactly what RICO meant. His deposition would be sought and itwould be central to my claims, as well as to my good faith assertionsof same.

10. I am better able to describe the defendants as acting as a criminalorganization because I myself have worked for and for over thirty yearshave been a vital part of this criminal organization or enterprise. Thehierarchical and organizational structure of the Church is similar tothat of the Mafia, and the active and undenied criminal activityagainst me by the enterprise is alleged to have continued for decades.

11. I have alleged that the Catholic Church and the defendants act as acriminal enterprise and behave accordingly. A recent study frominternational news agencies reported that the sovereign state with thehighest crime rate in the world per capita is Vatican City. There areat least 1.5 crimes committed per citizen of the Vatican. This is thesame sovereign state that allows criminal members of the Churchhierarchy, like the disgraced Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, BernardLaw, to flee there with immunity from prosecution. Grand juryinvestigations in Suffolk County, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;and Boston, Massachusetts, have stated that had it not been forantiquated laws regarding statutes of limitations, numerous clericswould have been criminally liable for serious crimes against childrenand other vulnerable persons. All of the reports expressed frustrationthat charges could not be brought against those who covered up,exacerbated, and participated in the enterprise known as "clergy sexualabuse." I specifically allege that should a Grand Jury review theallegations that are contained in my suit, criminal wrongdoing would befound. Since courts are the great levelers of the playing field, Iwould hope this court would allow my claims to go forward so New YorkState would not continue to promulgate archaic statutes of limitations,in turn, permitting the defendants to continue their pattern ofshielding predators and covering-up crimes against children and thevulnerable.

12. In the organizational schema of the Catholic Church, the categorybelow bishop is that of priest. A priest serves at the whim of thebishop and has no direct say in the goings-on of the enterprise, exceptwhen a bishop allows a priest into the inner sanctum. A priest whoattempts to expose the inner criminal workings can be disciplined withor without salary, admonished to "get in line or else," and assigned tounpopular and dangerous work-sites.

13. When an allegation of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct is madeagainst a Cardinal, Archbishop, or Bishop, the record or report of thisis kept only in the "sub secreto" files at the Vatican so as to avoidthe reach of courts and foreign countries. In other words, thedefendants will use the First Amendment and the Foreign SovereignImmunity Act to keep material from being exchanged. My case allegesthat Cardinal Egan, Archbishop Myers, and Bishop Howard Hubbard havebeen sexually abusive and/or active during their priesthoods, and thata reason they cannot police their own priests is because of their ownsexual indiscretions. I have proof of these charges and will present itduring discovery and at trial. I have specific and direct knowledgethat the defendants have used and will use the freedom of religionclause to the First Amendment as a shield against civil and criminalresponsibility for acts committed by priests for decades, including thecrimes against me. The current landscape and revelations over the lastfive years have demonstrated that the abuse going on in the Church hasnot consisted of isolated incidents; rather, they have taken place inan organized manner, spanning decades, and have been covered up for themost part in order to shield the Church and Church leaders fromcanonical and civil liability.

14. I am also knowledgeable that if and when there is a conflictbetween our country's civil laws and canon laws, the Churchacknowledges that civil laws always take precedence. However, I amaware that the defendants will never exchange documents that are keptat the Vatican which will substantiate my claims.

15. It appears that the defendants do not specifically deny myallegations of a criminal enterprise and predicate criminal acts, butthey are merely saying that my amended complaint and affidavits do notmeet the rigid technical pleading requirement of the RICO statute. Forthat reason, I ask the court to allow me to amend my complaint iftechnical pleading defects are found to exist. Of course, I am askingthe court to allow my allegations to go forward to discovery and totrial. The equities in this case weigh greatly in my favor as a victimof crime and what I believe is illegal termination and retaliation forspeaking out pursuant to my First Amendment and constitutional rights,and for exposing criminal activity in the Church.

16. It cannot go unnoticed that I very much feel like a Mafia turncoatwho has been compelled (for sufficient reasons) to "RAT OUT" myemployers and my co-employees in the Church. From the defendants'perspective, my transgressions consist of speaking out against theChurch and in favor of victims of abuse, and speaking out in a mannerso as to protect the community against the criminal cover-up by thebishops and Cardinals who are defendants in this case.

17. This analogy of "RATTING OUT" is often used to describe an employeeof the enterprise who has turned on or been a whistleblower against hisemployers. He is not only forever banished from the ability to earnincome from being associated with the enterprise; he is also in dangerboth physically and financially. Since I am only educated and trainedto be a priest, the defendants have irreparably harmed my careerprofession and ability to earn an income, and to practice the onlytrade I am trained in.

18. Another priest like me who worked with and helped Mr. Aretakis inexposing sexual abuse and predators was an Albany diocesan priest namedFr. John Minkler. On February 13, 2004, Fr. Minkler was publiclyidentified as having reported extensive sexual and other types ofmisconduct of defendant Bishop Howard Hubbard and others to formerCardinal John J. O'Connor, and specifically in a June 10, 1995 letterto the Cardinal, as well as providing other documents and speaking toreporters.

19. Within forty-eight hours of being identified as someone who wasassisting victims of abuse represented by John Aretakis, Fr. Minklerwas found dead of suspicious causes. Two days before his death onFebruary 15, 2004, Fr. Minkler was coerced into signing a false andfraudulent document by Bishop Howard Hubbard. Bishop Hubbard's ownlawyer confirmed that Fr. Minkler did in fact write the June 10, 1995letter to Cardinal O'Connor that accused Bishop Hubbard of repeatedsexual misconduct. Working with John Aretakis and with victims isdangerous, tantamount to turning on the Mafia, and I believe mycircumstances have placed my life, health, and safety in danger, aswell as my career and property.

20. A former upstate New York law enforcement officer, Lincoln Grimm,has revealed the details of the procedures used in his city when apriest was accused of sexual abuse. According to Grimm, when a policechief is told about abuse by a police officer, he (the chief), in turn,reports the charges directly to the bishop who then is able totransfer, hide, or do nothing to the accused priest so as to avoidcriminal charges and public disclosure. This appears to be the patternthroughout the Church and is what happened in my case. Clerics were(and are) treated differently than other citizens, even if it meantthat police had to break the law. There is much more to the details ofmy claims, and I respectfully hope the court will allow these importantmatters to see the light of day.

21. Some of my claims regarding the defendants have been submitted tothe representative of the Vatican in the United States and I haverequested an investigation of such. The Papal Nuncio has "duly noted"my claims.

22. As further evidence of the claims that I have alleged, the New York Timesof January 26, 2007 reported that Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit,Michigan, has been fired from his position as pastor of a parish andretaliated against by his supervisors for at least three of the reasonsfor which I was fired and retaliated against. Bishop Gumbleton and Iwere fired from our jobs because we exercised our First Amendment andconstitutional right of free speech by reporting having been sexuallyabused by clerics, lobbying for changes in legislation that currentlydoes not protect victims, and speaking out publicly on behalf ofvictims and the cover-up by the Church hierarchy. This is anotherexample of the "pattern" of corruption that exists throughout theCatholic Church. Even though what was reported about Bishop Gumbletondoes not apply directly to me, it is another example of the CatholicChurch's organized efforts to silence critics who work in the Church,retaliate against them, falsely attempt to smear their credibility, andcontinue a pattern of covering-up crimes against children and thevulnerable, including me.

23. An attorney for a bishop in New Jersey had a letter to the editor published in the January 26, 2007 edition of the Daily Recordnewspaper which criticized me personally for my comments about aconfirmed pedophile priest. This is part of a more long-standing issuewith the defendants in my case in which they repeatedly attack mycredibility and that of my attorney in a variety of ways for speakingout against crimes committed against children and the vulnerable,including me.

Wherefore, I respectfully request that the defendants' motion all bedenied and for whatever and further relief the Court deems just.



Sworn to this _____ day of January, 2007

_______________________

REV. ROBERT M. HOATSON


___________________________

NOTARY PUBLIC
 


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia