The following is the text of our ad that appears today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Anyone who thinks Jeffrey Anderson is in it just for the money is nuts. Sure, he’s made a fortune suing the Catholic Church over old cases of alleged priestly abuse, but money alone cannot account for his latest vendetta. Now he’s engaged in a media ad campaign to find anyone who claims he was abused by a priest, regardless of how flimsy the evidence or when the alleged act occurred. It matters not a whit whether the priest is long dead and cannot defend himself.
In one sense, Anderson is doing us a favor: the cat’s out of the bag. His integrity is shot. Any lawyer who would conduct a public relations hunt for one class of people to sue is not interested in justice. Quite frankly, if Anderson were concerned about all victims of abuse, he would not exclusively target alleged Catholic ones.
Imagine for one moment if a lawyer launched an advertising campaign pledging to find every last person who was ever abused by a public school teacher. Or imagine a campaign that sought to locate only those persons who were victimized by an Orthodox rabbi? The mind boggles just thinking about it. Anyone familiar with the data on sexual abuse knows that a) the Catholic Church never had a monopoly on this problem to begin with and b) it has less of a problem today than any other institution, secular or religious (the average number of credible accusations made against over 40,000 priests in the last five years is 8.6).
Anderson’s mad quest for new Catholic victims is of a piece with his pathological fixation on the Catholic Church. We’ve been on to his game for many years; his latest gambit should convince everyone of his real motive. It is not justice that drives him and his army of lawyers—it is a debased appetite to get the Catholic Church.
It’s time for a Catholic revolt. While all sexual abuse must be condemned unequivocally, all attempts to shake down one segment of the population must also be condemned. Bigotry has no legitimate role to play in the pursuit of justice.