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Judge orders Cardinal Law to answer questions in lawsuit

Monday, May 6, 2002

Associated Press WriterBOSTON (AP) -- A judge Monday ordered Cardinal Bernard Law to give a deposition on Wednesday in the civil litigation against John Geoghan, the now-defrocked priest accused of molesting scores of youngsters.

Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney expressed concern that Law might not be available to answer questions under oath unless the deposition were held soon.

"His choice of whether he available for deposition is not entirely belonging to him," she said. "If the pope tells him to go to Rome, he goes."

She denied a request by the archdiocese for a seven-day notice before the deposition.

But she also denied a request by plaintiffs' attorney Mitchell Garabedian that Law be required to post a $10 million bond if he leaves the state.

Garabedian, who represents 86 alleged victims of Geoghan, was pressing on with the litigation after the archdiocese decided on Friday to back out of a settlement in the case. The rejected deal would have paid plaintiffs between $15 million and $30 million.

In rejecting the settlement, the archdiocese's Finance Council cited concern that there would not be enough money left for the growing number of other people alleging they were sexually abused by priests.

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