Right around the time Jerry and Ryann Carmody were preparing to represent a priest at a civil trial over claims he sexually abused a minor, the movie “Spotlight” came out, Ryann Carmody remembers.
The movie focused on the team at the Boston Globe that uncovered the priest abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, bringing the issue to the forefront again.
“People heard we were doing this and thought we were crazy,” Ryann Carmody said.
Although getting past that stigma was challenging, the father-daughter team was able to obtain a rare defense verdict for the Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang in the case.
“It was a long, hard fought trial. When the jury came back and said that, there wasn’t a dry eye on our side of the courtroom,” Jerry Carmody said.
The emotions ran especially high for the Carmodys, who became passionate about Jiang’s case almost immediately after meeting him and hearing his story. Jiang was a refugee from China who came to the U.S. to become a priest and “was absolutely dedicated and passionate about his priesthood,” Jerry Carmody said.
“Just that whole concept that at a very young age he was suspended from his priestly duties for five years, was not able to do anything associated with his vocation, it was just a compelling situation for us all along,” he said. “He’s just a wonderful person and was nevertheless accused of this.”
The case was special not just because of the positive outcome for Jiang, but because they got to try the case as father and daughter, said Jerry Carmody, whose son Patrick also works at the firm.
“It’s nice having them here and watching them mature as young adults and lawyers,” Carmody said. “It was a special delight to try this case with Ryann.”
Ryann Carmody said it was the reason she joined the firm, leaving behind a job at the circuit attorney’s office.
“Getting to work with your dad, doing something he likes and you like, not a lot of people have that opportunity,” she said.
The two have worked a number of cases together, including others for the archdiocese.
The archdiocese first approached them several years ago about a pending case in which they needed additional counsel, said Tom Buckley, general counsel for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
“I’d known Jerry Carmody for years, and I just held his trial skill and ability in very high regard. When the opportunity presented itself, Jerry was top of mind in who to contact,” Buckley said.
After the first case, they started a relationship with the archdiocese, representing them in other cases.
“We were honored the archdiocese thought enough of us to take challenging cases,” Jerry Carmody said. “It was a special thing.”
Buckley said he has been impressed with the work the team has done.
“They’re very diligent, highly skilled trial lawyers who exemplify exactly what you would want in somebody representing your best interests as a client,” he said.
He praised their thoroughness in investigating the Jiang case, as well as their collaboration with other lawyers on the defense team.
“I have nothing but good things to say about both Jerry and Ryann,” he said.
tion of every case. When asked if any one case stands out as the greatest achievement of her legal career, Quinn said she couldn’t pick just one.
“Every single time is a tremendous blessing,” she said.
Staudt described Quinn as a “fierce advocate for her clients.”
“As a legal champion, she zealously represents some of Missouri’s most underserved and vulnerable populations,” she said.