Maine Court Asked to Nix Church Immunity in Abuse Case

September 18, 2008

Maine’s supreme court is being asked to overturn the concept of charitable immunity in a church abuse lawsuit.

A lawyer told the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that the Roman Catholic bishop knew the Rev. Raymond Melville had “pedophilic tendencies” when he was assigned to work at a parish in Augusta in 1986. While there, he’s accused of abusing William Picher.

As it stands, Maine law protects the bishop under the shield of charitable immunity. That doctrine was cited in a summary judgment against Picher late last year.

Gerald Petruccelli, lawyer for the diocese, says the charitable immunity doctrine was established 98 years ago and reaffirmed as recently as six years ago.


Information from: Kennebec Journal,

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