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Deposition of Cardinal Bernard Law
May 8, 2002, Suffolk County Superior Court

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Q. Did you make any provisions to have somebody else follow through with what you had indicated to Bishop Daily was urgent and to follow through?

A. The person who assumed the responsibility of Bishop Daily as my, my first associate was then Father Robert Banks.

Q. And Father Banks is now a Bishop; is that correct?

A. He is.

Q. And he's the Bishop of Green Bay?

A. Green Bay.

Q. So did you follow through on Mrs. Gallant's letter with Bishop Banks?

A. Bishop Banks would have been the person who would have handled such cases, that's correct, as Bishop Daily, Father -- well, Bishop Banks.

Q. And would you have expected Bishop Banks to have pulled the file on the priest that was alleged to have molested boys?

A. I would have expected him to have handled the case appropriately.

Q. What would have been the practice that you would have expected him to do at that time?

A. I had confidence in both Bishop Daily and Bishop Banks. As the note indicates here to Bishop Daily, I said, "Urgent, please follow through." And the "Please follow through" was an indication that I want you to handle this in an appropriate way. And I had confidence in those whom I appointed to these roles to do that. I had confidence in Bishop Daily and I had confidence in Bishop Banks, as I still do.

Q. But Bishop Daily was leaving about the same time you were sending him this letter; isn't that correct? September of 1984 he was leaving the Diocese of Boston?

A. Well, but he was still -- he held the responsibility. I would not have addressed something to him if he didn't have that responsibility. If Bishop Banks had it at that time, I would have addressed it to Bishop Banks. What I'm saying is Bishop Banks succeeded Bishop Daily.

Q. But did Bishop Daily leave within a week or two weeks of that date?

A. I can't -- I don't have recall on those dates.

Q. Do you recall if you asked Bishop Banks to follow up with what Bishop Daily had been doing, then Father Banks, to follow up?

A. I cannot recall having told him, follow up on this case. But I'm certain that --

Q. What would be --

A. -- it would have been expected that he would have followed up on all current cases.

Q. What was the practice --

A. When I say cases, again, I'm not indicating that this was one of many such cases, but it was not, but what -- he would follow up on the business that Bishop Daily had had.

Q. In 1984, you knew, did you not, that it would have been wrong for a priest to have sexually molested boys; is that correct?

A. Oh, absolutely.

Q. Okay. And that is something you would have tried to stop from happening again?

A. That's correct.

Q. Okay. What was the practice that you had in place in 1984 when you were Archbishop to deal with this kind of allegation when it comes in?

A. I viewed this as a pathology, as a psychological pathology, as an illness. Obviously I viewed it as something that had a moral component. It was, objectively speaking, a gravely sinful act. And that's something that one deals with in one's life, in one's relationship to God. But I also viewed this as a pathology, as an illness, and so consequently, I, not being an expert in this pathology, not being a psychiatrist, not being a psychologist, my, my modus operandi was to rely upon those whom I considered and would have reason to consider to have an expertise that I lacked in assessing this pathology, in assessing what it is that this person could safely do or not do.

Q. So in -- you would have relied on some sort of medical or psychiatric expertise in dealing with this issue --

A. That's correct.

Q. -- at that time?

A. At that time, that's correct.

Q. And you would have expected, whether it was Bishop Daily or Bishop Banks, to refer to that?

A. That's correct.

Q. Okay. And to assist these experts, would you have wanted to give them as much information as you had about a particular priest with a problem as possible so they could have an accurate opinion?

A. My presumption would be yes, that one, if a person was going to assist, one would have to provide the information that's pertinent for that to be able to describe the degree of illness.

Q. Did you explain this as, your reliance on this kind of expertise, to Bishop Daily, that you expected him to go through this process?

A. I don't recall explaining it to him, but certainly that would have been, I think, the common expectation that we both would have shared in what I, what I implied when I said, "Follow through on this."

Q. So you, at that time, you don't recall requesting to personally see the file of Father John J. Geoghan?

A. That's -- I do not -- I did not do that.

Q. Okay.

A. I relied on those who assisted me in this matter to do all that was appropriate, and that would include....

Q. So the procedures you had in place then would have been for this priest to have been sent to a doctor?

A. That's correct.

Q. Okay.

MR. GORDON: Can we have this marked as Exhibit 226, please? (Document marked as Exhibit 226 for identification.) (Document exhibited to witness.)

THE WITNESS: Thank you.


Q. Cardinal, you've been given what has been marked as Exhibit 226, the first page of which appears to be a letter from the Archbishop's Residence of September 18, 1984, the second document appears to be a handwritten letter from St. Brendan's Rectory addressed to Father Oates of September 27, 1984, which would -- on the second page of which appears to be a copy of the signature of John J. Geoghan, and the last page of which appears to be a phone message. Have you had a chance to review Exhibit 226?

A. I have.

Q. And does Exhibit 226 indicate to you that Bishop Banks on September 18 was then vicar general and serving in place of Bishop Daily?

A. It does.

Q. Okay. So sometime between your note on the envelope from, of the September 6, 1984 letter from Marge Gallant, to September 18, Bishop Banks assumed the duties of Bishop Daily?

A. That's correct.

Q. Okay. And does the first page of Exhibit 26 (sic) indicate that you had ended Father Geoghan's assignment as St. Brendan's as of September 18?

A. Yes.

Q. And was it your practice at that time, when Bishop Banks was vicar general, to require priests who were having their assignment changed to notify Bishop, then Father Banks, now Bishop Banks, and Father Oates, that they had received a letter from you?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. Do you remember if you in fact signed the September 18 letter?

A. I, I do not recall signing the letter.

Q. But it would have been the kind of letter you would have signed at the time?

A. But if the letter went at the time, it would have had to have had my signature and nobody else would be authorized to sign in my place.

Q. Okay. And the September 27 letter, which is the second letter in there, indicates that Father Geoghan in fact had received your letter of September 18; is that correct?

A. That's what it indicates.

Q. Okay. And the last page to this exhibit appears to be a copy of a phone message to Father Oates from Father Geoghan?

A. That's what it appears to be.

Q. Okay. Does it appear to say something about St. Julia's Rectory, he has spoken to his doctor, who is sending a letter to affirm his good health?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. So there is in the record, in the file, that phone message, what appears to be a phone message from Father Oates to Father Geoghan?

A. Yes. Which I'm seeing here for the first time.

Q. Okay. So you hadn't seen that before?

A. No.

MR. GORDON: Could we have this marked as Exhibit 227, please?

(Document marked as Exhibit 227 for identification.)

(Document exhibited to witness.)

Q. Cardinal, we've given you a two-page document which has been marked as Exhibit 27 (sic). It appears to have handwritten notes on it. On the first page it appears to have the date of 9/17/84, re: Father John Geoghan. The second page of which appear to be some notes and a copy of that envelope in which you wrote urgent to Bishop Daily in the Marge Gallant letter. Have you seen these notes before?

A. No. And I find them rather difficult to read, but I'll give a try here.

Q. Before you do that: Have you seen them before?

A. No.

Q. Okay. Do you know whose handwriting they are?

A. I do not.

Q. Have you ever spoken with Father James Lane?

A. Yes, I've spoken to Father Lane.

Q. Did you ever speak with Father Lane about Father Geoghan?

A. I believe that, not in this time frame, but subsequently I think he may have mentioned something about him.

Q. And when was that?

A. I couldn't say.

Q. Was it in the 1980s?

A. Possibly. I can't -- I really can't put a time from. Just in my apperceptive mass there's something there, but it would not have been in this early time frame.

Q. So it wouldn't have been contemporaneous with 1984?

A. It would not have been, no.

Q. If this helps you, would it have been before or after you issued the sexual abuse policy?

A. I think it would be after.

Q. Okay. And do you remember what Father Lane said to you about Father Geoghan?

A. I can't. I cannot remember.

Q. All right. Did anybody report to you that Father Lane had some serious concerns about Father Geoghan being at St. Brendan's?

MR. ROGERS: At this time or at any time?

Q. In 1984.

A. No, no, no.

Q. And you don't know if the handwriting in the 9/17/84 notes are either Bishop Banks' or Bishop Daily's; is that correct?

A. I really don't. I would, I would be more familiar with Bishop Banks' handwriting, and this does not appear to me to be Bishop Banks' handwriting, it's usually smaller than that, but I really don't know.

MR. GORDON: The envelope appears to be obstructing the bottom of the notes. Could we get a copy -- this is to counsel. There may be a name signed at the bottom of this, we have not received this. The second page is obstructed by a copy of the envelope.

MR. ROGERS, III: We'll go back.

MR. GORDON: I suspect it's Bishop Daily and I can't testify to that and the Cardinal doesn't know.

Q. Do you remember a conversation with Bishop Banks about terminating Father Geoghan at St. Brendan's in 1984?

A. I do not recall a conversation with him on that issue. It would have been a customary thing, though, for a discussion to have taken place.

Q. And if there had been reports of Father Geoghan having inappropriate contact with children in the discussion of the termination of his assignment, would Father Banks have reported to you at the time there were these issues?

A. Yes.

MR. GORDON: Can I have this marked as Exhibit 228, please?

(Document marked as Exhibit 228 for identification.)

(Document exhibited to witness.)

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