Although the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and the financial scandals in corporate America have been unfolding side by side over the last few years, federal prosecutors have been more hesitant in prosecuting bishops and dioceses than corporate executives and companies. A recent agreement between the Diocese of Manchester and the New Hampshire Attorney General, however, has the potential to change this. Bishops have contributed to their current predicament by failing to act more publicly as teachers and judges of Church doctrine and natural moral law; however, this Article argues that bishops and their dioceses are not proper targets for possible criminal indictment for the crimes of individual priests. Regardless of the very serious criminal and moral wrongs perpetrated by some priests, and the terrible spiritual, moral, and psychological damage to the victims, negligence in responding to these crimes does not constitute criminal conduct by a bishop or diocese.
John S. Baker Jr, Prosecuting Dioceses and Bishops, 44 B.C.L. Rev. 1061 (2003), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol44/iss4/6