West Virginia judge tosses church abuse case, wants high court’s take

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A West Virginia judge is looking to the state Supreme Court for guidance after dismissing a case that alleges a Catholic diocese and its former bishop knowingly employed pedophiles.

Wood County Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane on Wednesday tossed the suit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston until the state Supreme Court decides whether the case violates rules about the separation of church and state.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the case in March under the state’s consumer protection act, a move several attorneys said was unprecedented. Morrisey says the diocese covered up arguably criminal behavior and employed admitted sexual abusers without adequate background checks.

A spokesman for the diocese says it’s confident the state Supreme Court will decide in its favor.

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