Monday, December 09, 2002

Stop this cardinal from taking flight. Maybe state attorney general Tom Reilly doesn't want to tip his hand just yet. But he'd better act quickly, given that Cardinal Bernard Law has both the means and the motive to become a fugitive from justice.

Means: both the Globe and the Herald report this morning that Law slipped out of the country once again last week, allowing his handlers to lie about his schedule, so that he could seek advice in Rome. Motive: elected officials have been understandably reluctant to suggest that Law could face criminal charges. But his failure to report the involvement of a priest, James Foley, with a woman who died of a drug overdose would certainly strike many observers as the sort of thing that could land the globe-trotting cardinal in very serious legal trouble. It's unlikely that the thought hasn't occurred to Law, too.

At the very least, Reilly should seek to have Law designated as a material witness who cannot leave the state without the permission of the attorney general's office. Not only would that have the practical effect of preventing this loathsome cleric from going on the lam, but it would also have the symbolic effect of publicly underscoring precisely how contemptible -- and possibly criminal -- Law's conduct has been.

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