Media groups want Legion of Christ papers unsealed

Oct 24, 2012, 1:01 AM

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The Associated Press and three other news organizations Tuesday filed legal papers asking a Rhode Island judge to unseal documents in a lawsuit contesting the will of an elderly widow who gave some $60 million to the Legion of Christ, a disgraced Roman Catholic religious order.

The New York Times, The Providence Journal and the National Catholic Reporter joined the AP in submitting a legal filing arguing that the public has a right to access the documents and rejecting the Legion’s argument that press coverage of them could taint prospective jurors. Pope Benedict XVI took over the Legion in 2010 after a Vatican investigation determined its founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, had sexually molested seminarians and fathered three children by two women.

The woman’s niece, Mary Lou Dauray, had sought to challenge Gabrielle Mee’s will, saying her aunt had been defrauded by the order into leaving it her fortune. Mee died in 2008. Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein last month threw out the challenge because he determined the niece lacked standing. However, in his decision Silverstein noted that Maciel gave Mee financial advice and another priest helped her with estate planning.

“The transfer of millions of dollars worth of assets _ through will, trust and gifts _ from a steadfastly spiritual elderly woman to her trusted but clandestinely dubious religious leaders raises a red flag to this court,” Silverstein wrote.

Bernard Jackvony, Dauray’s attorney, said he plans to appeal the ruling. He is now seeking the release of documents from the lawsuit. Jackvony said the documents compiled in the course of the lawsuit contain information about the Legion that isn’t known by the public. The documents were sealed by a probate court judge in 2009.

“I don’t think there were proper grounds to keep them under seal,” he said.

An attorney for the Legion has argued that releasing the documents could compromise the Legion’s right to a fair trial. A call to the order’s attorney, Joseph Avanzato, was not immediately returned on Tuesday.

The Legion has facilities in Rhode Island, has been the target of a petition from women once associated with the order and is being sued in Connecticut by a man who says he is Maciel’s son.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - A plane drops retardant on a wildfire near homes Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Laguna Beach, C...
Associated Press

US testing new fire retardant, critics push other methods

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. officials are testing a new wildfire retardant after two decades of buying millions of gallons annually from one supplier, but watchdogs say the expensive strategy is overly fixated on aerial attacks at the expense of hiring more fire-line digging ground crews. The Forest Service used more than 50 million gallons […]
10 hours ago
Friends and family gathered at Vadnais Lake after news of a dead child being pulled out of the lake...
Associated Press

Bodies of 2 of 3 missing kids found in Minnesota lake

VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. (AP) — The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned. Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Woman charged after 1,000 pigs found dead at Iowa site

SAC CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman is facing criminal charges after more than 1,000 pigs were found dead on a property. KCCI-TV reports that the Sac County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call Thursday and found the animals dead at two confinement sites. Authorities say 33-year-old Elana Laber was responsible for maintaining the […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Police and other first responders work the scene where officials say dozens of people have b...
Associated Press

Texas’ border mission grows, but crossings still high

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Following the horror of a human-smuggling attempt that left 53 people dead, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state troopers to inspect more trucks — again expanding a border security mission that has cost billions, given the National Guard arrest powers and bused migrants to Washington, D.C. What Abbott’s get-tough plans haven’t […]
10 hours ago
FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2018, file photo, an early morning fog rises where 17 memorial crosses were...
Associated Press

Parkland jurors must manage trial stress on their own

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The jurors chosen this past week to decide whether Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz is executed will visit a bloodstained crime scene, view graphic photos and videos and listen to intense emotional testimony — an experience that they will have to manage entirely on their own. Throughout what is expected […]
10 hours ago
FILE - GE lightbulbs are displayed in a supermarket April 5, 2021 in New York. The federal governme...
Associated Press

From AM to PM, the fickle force of government is with you

WASHINGTON (AP) — When you groggily roll out of bed and make breakfast, the government edges up to your kitchen table, too. Unlike you, it’s perky. It’s an unseen force in your morning. The government makes sure you can see the nutrients in your cereal. It fusses over your toast, insisting that the flour it […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Media groups want Legion of Christ papers unsealed