Attorney Jeff Kessler of Marshall County says he’s not sure why Patrick Morrisey chose to bring the suit under the West Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
He says that wasn’t the best fit for this case, since the act has only a four-year “lookback period” and some of these sexual abuse cases date back to the 1960s.
“It’s certainly a headline grabber,” said Kessler, a former West Virginia lawmaker. “And certainly everyone is concerned about child safety. But it shouldn’t be cast as though every Catholic priest is guilty of improper behavior.”
Kessler said he himself is the product of Catholic schools, and he had some very fine teachers and priests.
He said it would have been more effective to fight these cases on their individual merit.
“Nor do I see any compensation paid to any of the victims of the potential abuse for the terrible things that may have happened to them,” Kessler said. “So there’s no criminal jurisdiction for putting anybody in jail that may have harmed a child. I don’t see any compensation for any of the real victims of this alleged abuse.”
Regarding the portion of the lawsuit where Morrisey says the results of the investigation conducted by the Diocese into Bishop Bransfield’s behavior need to be made public, Kessler agreed.
He said he believes everyone would like to see those findings.