A lawyer based in Minnesota has co-founded a London law firm which will specialize in bringing sex abuse cases against the Catholic Church.
Throughout his 25-year career, Jeff Anderson has spear-headed more than 1,500 lawsuits against the Catholic Church.
His new firm, which he has co-founded with Ann Olivarius marks one of the first attempts to create a cross-Atlantic practice, which will be dedicated to initiating legal actions on several continents, using his litigation tactics that have awarded his client’s victories for more than two decades in the U.S.
Speaking from his new firms offices in central London, 63-year-old Anderson spoke about his desire to help British victims of abuse.
“Survivors have, and are, breaking their silence,” he told the London Independent.
“It is our hope, it is our plan, to use the very fine legal system here to get help for the wounded, those that have been harmed, and together with them do what we can to protect others from further harm.”
American-born British solicitor, Ann Olivarious is the brainchild behind the new London based firm.
“If you followed the clergy abuse scandal as it grew in the United States it was clear that, if not for Jeff Anderson, the Catholic Church hierarchy and its clergy might have never been held responsible as they are today,” she said.
“It seemed to me we needed the same kind of pressure for justice and accountability on this side of the Atlantic.”
Mr Anderson attorney questioned the British clergy’s handling of abuse and has called on the Church to release all information it has on abusive clergy members.
“The extent to which the bishops in the UK have taken some action, we applaud that,” he said.
“But the extent to which they say the problem has been dealt with, we challenge that.
“We don’t know who the actual offenders are – that only they know about. Until they come fully clean with that, children are at risk here? across the land and across the globe.”
Jeff Anderson Ann Olivarius Law will hope to focus on clerical abusers who moved between Britain Ireland and the U.S. during their careers.
On Monday last, the firm began its first civil action on behalf of an American who claims they were the victim of abuse at the hands of an Irish priest in the eighties.
The lawsuit was filed in Minneapolis and names as co-defendants the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland, the Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota and the Servants of the Paraclet, an global Catholic organization which aimed to rehabilitate priests.
Court documents filed show that the Irish priest, who cannot be named for legal reasons spent time in a Servants of Paraclete rehabilitation center in Brownshill, Gloucestershire.
The priest spent time there in 1975 after he was accused of three separate sex-abuse allegations.
He remained in Britain until 1981 but later moved to the U.S. where additional allegations were made against him.