Jeffrey Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., lawyer who filed the lawsuit for a boy identified as Juan Doe 1, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he believes his case is the first time the law, which dates back to the early days of the republic, has been used in a clerical molestation case.
U.S. District Judge Josephine Tucker refused Monday to dismiss Cardinal Roger Mahony as a defendant. Mahony, who is now retired, was archbishop of Los Angeles when the Rev. Nicholas Aguilar Rivera was a priest there.
In legal papers filed in Los Angeles, Anderson says Aguilar molested 60 children in Mexico and then molested 26 in Los Angeles. He allegedly abused four more after his return to Mexico, including Juan Doe.
Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the archbishop of Mexico City, is also a defendant.
Anderson said his lawsuit was inspired by a news story about foreign women getting compensation for having been forced to work as sex slaves for the Japanese military.
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