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Judge Orders Cardinal To Be Deposed

A judge Monday ordered that Boston Cardinal Bernard Law be deposed in the civil litigation case against John Geoghan, the now-defrocked priest accused of molesting scores of youngsters.

Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney scheduled Law's deposition for Wednesday, expressing concern that he 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.

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.

The allegations against Geoghan drew national attention to claims of sexual abuse by priests. Geoghan is serving a 9- to 10-year sentence after being convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy.

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.

David W. Smith, the archdiocese's chief financial officer, told the Boston Sunday Globe that it will take months to determine how much money will be needed to finance a victims' fund.

He declined to estimate the potential size of the "non-litigious global assistance fund," saying that the archdiocese must first estimate the number of new claims and the extent of insurance coverage.

The possibility of mortgaging real estate is one scenario that has emerged to raise the needed money.

Cardinal Law on Sunday acknowledged the anguish caused by the archdiocese's withdrawal from the settlement. He said he would seek an "equitable solution" in coming weeks.

Law disclosed that in recent weeks the number of additional sexual abuse claims against priests and the archdiocese had grown from 30 to 150.

"I trust you can understand the disappointment, the anger and even the sense of fresh betrayal which may be in the hearts of the 86 persons," Law told parishioners at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

A Law adviser, whom the Globe did not name, said that the Finance Council members concluded that the settlement's $400,000 per victim would set a precedent that the archdiocese could not afford as new victims emerge.

The Boston archdiocese already has paid an estimated $15 million to 40 alleged Geoghan victims.

Meanwhile, a retired Roman Catholic priest was en route to Massachusetts from San Diege to face charges of repeatedly raping a boy in his parish over a seven-year period, authorities said.

In a brief court hearing last week, the Rev. Paul Shanley waived his right to contest extradition to Massachusetts. Prosecutors in Middlesex County accused him of raping the boy between 1983 and 1990 in St. Jean Parish in Newton, Mass., where Shanley served until the church transferred him to California.

Shanley, 71, who has advocated sex between men and boys, was arrested Thursday at his apartment overlooking San Diego's Balboa Park. It is the first time Shanley has faced criminal charges, though he is the focus of civil lawsuits alleging he was not properly supervised by Cardinal Law.

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