Four major news groups including Associated Press, The New York Times, The Providence Journal and the National Catholic Reporter have filed legal papers asking a Rhode Island judge to unseal documents in the lawsuit contesting the will of Mrs. Mee, who donated approximately $60 million to the Legionaries of Christ. The documents were sealed by a probate court judge in 2009.
The legal filing argues that the public has a right to access the documents (and to know the truth about this case). Meanwhile, the Legion has argued that such publicity could influence prospective jurors and compromise their right to a fair trial.
Gabrielle Mee’s niece, Mary Lou Dauray believed that her aunt had been defrauded by the Legion into leaving her fortune to them. She had made a legal challenge (previously reported in ReGAIN) but the Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein rejected her challenge because he determined the niece lacked standing. However, in his decision Silverstein noted red flags. The judge’s statements indicated that although Ms. Dauray lacked standing, her case had some merit.
According to the above mentioned article, Ms. Dauray’s attorney, Bernard Jackvony, plans to appeal the ruling and seek release of documents from the lawsuit. An attorney for the Legion has argued that releasing the documents could compromise the Legion’s right to a fair trial.
Jason Berry has written an article in the National Catholic Reporter Click Here providing some of the details about Mrs. Mee’s treatment by the Legion.
A close relative of Mrs. Mee, Monique Dauray commented that
The Legionaries of Christ took advantage of my elderly aunt while my family was actively looking for her when they hid her for the last 10 years of her life.
Mrs. Mee had specified that the trust funds from her husband’s estate be invested with companies and businesses whose products were consistent with Catholic moral teaching. Mrs. Mee was prevented from being aware that the Legionary founder, Father Marcial Maciel had fathered children or that the Vatican had banished him from ministry.
The May 1, 2010 Vatican communique as posted on the Vatican website, Click Here referred to
very grave and objectively immoral actions of Father Maciel to
real crimes, to
manifest a life devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning and how those around him created
a defense mechanism that for a long time rendered him unassailable, making it very difficult, as a result, to know the truth about his life.
The question we would ask now is whether the Legion has significantly changed since the death of the founder. Have his successors (some of those who created the defense mechanism for their leader) shown a change of heart, i.e. a desire for truth and justice or do they wish to continue along the same path they were trained to follow by Father Marcial Maciel?