Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Priest wants to stop questioning about affairs

Retired priest Phillip A. Bucher, a defendant in sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Glenna McKitterick, does not want to be questioned about any affairs he might have had while serving at parishes in Branson.
In documents filed Monday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Bucher's lawyer, Benjamin Stringer, asked for a protective order "prohibiting plaintiff from inquiring at deposition as to whether Bucher has engaged in any consensual, romantic, physical or sexual relationships outside the workplace."
Stringer said that during conversations with Ms. McKitterick's lawyers he was given the impression that they intend to ask about Bucher's outside relationships during a deposition set for April 20.
"In any sexual harassment case, questions about one's personal relationships would surely be embarrassing. However, in the instant case, questions into the private relationships of Bucher are extraordinarily sensitive."
Stringer said the questions are solely designed to harass his client and have no relevance. "Bucher has made clear to plaintiff that he will not defend against her allegations by arguing he would not have harassed (her) as a result of his promise of chastity or any other priestly obligation. (He) will defend the allegations by demonstrating they never happened and are not true."
Ms. McKitterick claimed she was fired from her job with the church after she refused to submit to Father Philip Bucher's sexual advances. She is suing Bucher, the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, Bishop John J. Liebrecht, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and Our Lady of the Ozarks Catholic Church.

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