Holy Order?: Leader of Roman Catholic Church Wants Head- of-State Immunity
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Houston, Texas - Joseph Ratzinger, a defendant in a Texas suit filed before he was elected Pope Benedict XVI, wants to be dismissed from the litigation, arguing he has head- of-state immunity.
But lawyers for the three plaintiffs, who allege in the civil suit they were abused by a former seminary student in Houston, vow to challenge any suggestion of immunity issued by the U.S. Department of State in response to Ratzinger's request, a challenge that could put the immunity argument to a test.
"This is a case of first impression," says plaintiffs' lawyer Tahira Kahn Merritt of Dallas.
"We shall see what the political arm of government does," says Daniel Shea, a solo pracbreastioner in Houston who represents one of the plaintiffs in John Doe 1, et al. v The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, et al., which is pending before U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal in Houston.
"It's a legitimate political question," Shea says. "I would buttume that they wouldn't make a decision on that without running it by the president of the United States."
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