By Dave Pierre | January 02, 2011 | 20:02
In a stunning ten-page declaration recently submitted to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, veteran attorney Donald H. Steier stated that his investigations into claims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have uncovered vast fraud and that his probes have revealed that many accusations are completely false.
Counselor Steier has played a role in over one hundred investigations involving Catholic clergy in Los Angeles.In his missive Mr. Steier relayed, "One retired F.B.I. agent who worked with me to investigate many claims in the Clergy Cases told me, in his opinion, about ONE-HALF of the claims made in the Clergy Cases were either entirely false or so greatly exaggerated that the truth would not have supported a prosecutable claim for childhood sexual abuse" (capital letters are his).
Mr. Steier also added, "In several cases my investigation has provided objective information that could not be reconciled with the truthfulness of the subjective allegations. In other words, in many cases objective facts showed that accusations were false."
Mr. Steier's declaration is a stunner. He is as experienced as anyone in studying the claims of abuse against Catholic clergy in the Los Angeles area. Also among Steier's eye-opening statements:
- "I have had accused priest clients take polygraph examinations performed by very experienced former law enforcement experts, including from L.A.P.D., the Sheriff Department, and F.B.I. In many cases the examinations showed my clients' denial of wrongdoing was 'truthful,' and in those cases I offered in writing to the accuser to undergo a similar polygraph examination at my expense. In every case the accuser refused to have his veracity tested by that investigative tool, which is routinely used by intelligence agencies."
- "I am aware of several plaintiffs who testified that they realized that they had been abused only after learning that some other person - sometimes a relative - had received a financial settlement from the Archdiocese or another Catholic institution."
- "In my investigation of many cases, I have seen the stories of some accusers change significantly over time, sometimes altering years, locations, and what activity was alleged - in every case, the changes seemed to have enabled or enhanced claims against my clients, or drastically increased alleged damages."
- "I am aware that false memories can also be planted or created by various psychological processes, including by therapists who might be characterized as 'sexual victim advocates,' if not outright charlatans."
- "Most of the approximately seven hundred psychiatric 'Certificates of Merit' filed in these Clergy Cases, as required by [California] Code of Civil Procedure § 340.1, were signed by the same therapist." (!) (Note: A "Certificate of Merit" from "a licensed mental health practitioner" is required in California before filing an abuse lawsuit.)