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Gag Order Charge Stirs Priestly Abuse Case

The quest for discovery of evidence in an alleged priestly abuse case in Kansas City is turning more complicated. A Jackson County Circuit Judge has ordered a third party to turn over records. And its executive director says he will not.

The Survivors’ Network of Those Abused By Priests , or SNAP, is ordered to produce documents in defenders’ efforts to prove plaintiffs’ attorneys broke a gag order in the case.

A man contends he was abused by Reverend Michael Tierney of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese in the 1970’s. SNAP is not party to the suit. But attorneys for Tierney convinced Judge Ann Mesle the order on evidence is warranted.

SNAP Executive Director Davis Clohessy says the order is misplaced.

“If Kansas City Catholic officials think that a lawyer has done something wrong, they can depose her. They can get her records. They can go into court and say ‘Judge, your rule is being broken here.’ That’s the ethical thing to do, but that’s not what they’re doing,” Clohessy says.

The Catholic League President Bill Donohue is quoted as saying Clohessy lectures the church but turns rebellious when events go against him.

The Missouri Supreme Court has refused to step into the case, but Clohessy says his organization may ask for a full hearing before an appeals court.

Clohessy says revealing decades of documents between SNAP and abuse victims and journalists would be wrong.

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