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Clergy Sexual Abuse Litigation: The Policymaking Role of Tort Law


Timothy D. Lytton


Albany Law School


Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 3, p. 809, 2007

Abstract:     
By all accounts, the prevalence of clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up by Church officials represents a massive institutional failure. Obscured by all of this attention to the Church's failure is the largely untold story of the tort system's remarkable success in bringing the scandal to light in the first place, focusing attention on the need for institutional reform, and spurring Church leaders and public officials into action. Tort litigation framed the problem of clergy sexual abuse as one of institutional failure, and it placed that problem on the policy agendas of the Catholic Church, law enforcement, and state governments. This Article examines these framing and agenda-setting effects of clergy sexual abuse litigation. It argues that private lawsuits can have a powerful and beneficial effect on policymaking.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 87

Keywords: torts, mass tort, clergy sexual abuse, litigation

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Date posted: February 15, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Lytton, Timothy D., Clergy Sexual Abuse Litigation: The Policymaking Role of Tort Law. Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 3, p. 809, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=963251

Contact Information

Timothy D. Lytton (Contact Author)
Albany Law School ( email )
80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
518-445-2397 (Phone)

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