Cardinal Timothy Dolan was deposed Wednesday in an abuse case against Roman Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which he led from 2002 until 2009.
The lawyers deposing Dolan represent hundreds of people who say they were sexually molested by priests in Milwaukee.
It comes as Dolan prepares to go to Rome to help select the next pope. But the timing of the deposition was coincidental, says Laurie Goodstein, national religion correspondent for The New York Times.
"When the date for this deposition was set the world did not know that Pope Benedict was about to resign," she told WNYC's Soterios Johnson. "It was unanticipated that there would be this close timing between the deposition and his departure for Rome."
She adds this latest legal step in the case won't put Dolan under a cloud as he heads to Rome, unlike Cardinal Roger Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles, who has been encouraged to miss conclave this time around.
The contents of the deposition are under seal, but lawyers for the victims hope to get the seal lifted.
Dolan, who now serves as the archbishop of New York, was questioned for about three hours about church assets, when he learned for the accusations in Milwaukee and when he decided to make them public, according Goodstein.
Listen to Host Soterios Johnson's full interview with Laurie Goodstein above.