Lawyers allege wrongdoing
A complaint prepared by Greenville attorney David Flowers and Charleston attorney Gregg Meyers that alleges collusion and other wrongdoing in connection with the settlement negotiated between the Catholic Diocese of Charleston and lawyers representing a class of sex-abuse victims was filed in U.S. District Court last week.
A petition to the S.C. Supreme Court for "original jurisdiction," filed in December, was rejected March 19. It was an attempt to expedite a review of allegations that implicate diocese officials, attorneys David Haller and Larry Richter and Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein.
Flowers said at the time that he was disappointed by the ruling, but not surprised. He said he would file the complaint in a lower court to facilitate the normal appeals process.
Those involved in the class-action settlement are accused of negligence, fraudulent concealment, civil conspiracy and professional negligence, according to the complaint, which was submitted by Meyers to the Charleston Division of the U.S. District Court.
Meyers negotiated a separate settlement with the diocese for a group of victims who opted out of the class-action proceedings.
Diocese officials, Haller and Richter have rejected the charges of conspiracy and collusion.
Goodstein wrote in an e-mail that she could not comment on the matter.
The diocese on Thursday released a statement rebutting claims made by Meyers in his complaint.
"These allegations are unfounded," the statement said, repeating the diocese's determination to prevent the abuse of children by church officials.
"Bishop Robert E. Gugliel-mone invites any victim of sexual abuse by Church personnel to meet with him for spiritual healing," the statement said.