Skip to comments.Extent of abuse cases staggering, official says [Pilla to release "shocking" numbers]
Posted on 01/20/2004 9:14:31 AM PST by Akron Al
Extent of abuse cases staggering, official says
01/20/04Joel Rutchick and James F. McCarty
The top financial officer of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese has warned church leaders to expect "shocking" numbers when local figures are released as part of a nationwide report on the extent and cost of child sexual abuse.
The findings from the past 52 years are contained in a survey of the 190 U.S. dioceses conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The results of the survey, commissioned by the nation's bishops, are scheduled to be announced Feb. 27.
Many bishops around the country already have publicly disclosed the findings for their dioceses, and Bishop Anthony Pilla is expected to provide an advanced look at the Cleveland diocese's numbers in the next several weeks.
At a meeting last month of the Catholic Charities Corp.'s board of trustees, Chief Financial Officer Joseph H. Smith said the millions of dollars the diocese spent on settlements with victims, their treatment and legal fees will be disturbing and larger than any figures yet reported in the media, according to people who were there.
"People are going to be shocked," one board member said Smith told the group.
Smith, reached at home on Monday, did not deny the reports. But he declined to speak specifically about the Cleveland diocese's numbers. Smith said he had been working on the study when he was suspended by Pilla on Jan. 6 after questions of financial wrongdoing were raised against him.
Diocesan spokesman Bob Tayek would not speculate on the impact the report may have.
"I wouldn't put [the numbers] in any category," Tayek said Monday. "We'll do that when we reveal them."
Some of the factors that contributed to Cleveland's financial burden are already known. In December 2002, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason concluded a seven-month investigation of the diocese that found more than 1,000 people claimed to have been victimized as children by priests and church figures.
He also found evidence of accusations against nearly 500 possible sexual offenders, of whom 145 were priests.
Those numbers are among the highest in the country.
In the Boston Archdiocese, considered the epicenter of the scandal, more than 500 people had come forward with clergy-abuse claims by the end of 2002. The archdiocese recently agreed to an $85-million settlement with 540 alleged victims.
Last June, the diocese in Louisville, Ky., settled 243 sex-abuse lawsuits for $25.7 million.
And the totals for Boston and Louisville could be even higher. Neither diocese has released its final tally of the cost of the sex-abuse scandal.
Smith's gloomy assessment for the Catholic Charities board included warnings that donations are in decline and church attendance has waned in the wake of the sex-abuse scandal, several members said.
But Smith also reported to the board that all of the diocese's costs related to sex abuse have been covered by insurance and accounting procedures. Smith said no money from Catholic Charities or the diocese's general fund was used to pay sex-abuse-related bills, which are expected to be among the highest in the country.
Critics are skeptical about the accuracy of the study.
"We think the numbers will be underreported," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
"By announcing the results early, the bishops get to say, Look how open we're being,' and they get to put their spin on the numbers. But how do we know they're telling the truth?" Clohessy asked.
Plain Dealer news researcher Jo Ellen Corrigan contributed to this story.
To reach these Plain Dealer reporters:
In March, 2002, about two years after leaving the diocese, Charlie [the bishop's former lawyer] says he met again with Bishop Gries. I met with Bishop Roger and I told him as a friend that he needed to tell Pilla to step down. That's all I said.
I prod him to continue. Because of the manner in which all of this had been handled.
Charlie later says, The thing that really fried me was the way the church in Cleveland has agreed to infanticize' Anthony. It's like he's a child. Oh, he didn't know this, he didn't know that.' Wait a minute, oh merciful God. Then what's he in charge of one million Catholics for? Yes, Quinn did crazy stuff, but he was a lieutenant, you are the general. Why didn't you stop it?
The following appeared in "The Wanderer's" From the Mail Section.:
In Cleveland, which has been racked with the most damaging sex abuse scandals outside of Boston and Los Angeles, diocesan officials, including Bishop Anthony Pilla, maintain a stiff upper lip as some homosexual activists in the chancery and parishes continue to transform parishes into gay-friendly communities. Consider:
The Diocese of Cleveland's official web site (www.dioceseofcleveland.com) greets the viewer with a rainbow flag, and gay activists at the diocese's Gay and Lesbian Family Ministry (GLFM) office are way out and way proud.
One member of the GLFM recorded his experience on an area gay web site of his participation in the Cleveland Gay Pride Parade, informing, "The catholic group had a very nice sized contingent. There were a whole ton of other religious groups as well...Oh, did I mention that I am in the same video as a pornstar?!...Our table was almost across from The Grid's table, so we got to watch Matt Rush shirtless signing autographs and posing for pictures most of the afternoon. I felt so uncouth ogling a pornstar and trying to be a respectable representative of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland...
"The Stonewall Democrats had the booth next to The Grid, and they had some mighty fine shirtless guys sitting at their table, too. After we took down our table at the pride festival, seven of us from the Catholic group went out to dinner...We also had the same waiter that we had last time...the cute one with attitude."
The author of that revealing letter is the apparent friend of Brian Halderman, a longtime gay activist of the Diocese of Cleveland who recently announced that he is joining the Society of Mary (Marianists) in Dayton.
In another Internet chat thread sent to FTM by a Cleveland reader, Halderman revealed that while a parishioner at Ascension Church (a church plagued by a number of predator priests), he was a chatechist involved in the sacramental preparation of second graders.
Reader, does all this help you understand what bishops such as Clark and Hubbard and Pilla mean by the "lay-run church.
You can contact the diocese of Cleveland toll free at 1-800-869-6525 or by e-mailing:
The official logo for the Diocese of Cleveland Gay and Lesbian Ministry [Warning: This is not a joke]:<
Go see for yourself:
The official logo for the Diocese of Cleveland Gay and Lesbian Ministry
The following exchange appeared in an article on a gay convicted priest here in Cleveland. [Note: Burkhart is a gay detective and McBride is the gay priest]:
Burkhart and McBride dined on crab cakes and chatted lightly. After dinner, McBride turned the conversation to the recent Catholic Church scandal. He hoped that, when it was all over, the church would recognize that priests are sexual beings too -- and that some are gay.
"Back in the 1960s, would you have ever come to a place like this?" Burkhart asked. "I mean, in this town, where you were working?"
"Probably not, no," McBride said. "Realistically, in 1960, no."
"And in certain places it looks like the seminary on Saturday night now," Burkhart joked.
"Yeah, that really is how it is," McBride said.
They compared notes on seeing clergy in gay bars. Then Burkhart stammered as he asked McBride a personal question: "So, whenever you had sex . . . were you bound to go to confession and confess it before you said Mass, or . . .?"
"Well, you were supposed to, yes," McBride said.
"Do you think all these priests do?"
"No," McBride said. "I think they changed their minds and decided it's not a sin."
The full article can be found at this link:
Well, it is already morally bankrupt. Perhaps if it goes financially bankrupt, we will get some attention from Rome.
Over the past several years a picture is emerging,especially when one starts connecting dots. I appreciate your observation I had puzzled over Cleveland's "protective bubble" for a while,just never connected.
I get copies of the Universe Bulletin from a friend occasionally and have many Cleveland friends and distant relatives there who are Catholic. The discussions I have had with them regards the "scandal" are quite curious. People,who I know to be bright and appear holy,act dazed,confused,indignant or dumbfounded when I ask them what they think about the terrible problem they have in the Church there.
Despite that I believe there is a solid core of good,orthodox Catholics there just waiting but trusting that a good bishop will be sent to them.
Our prayers seem to have been answered here in Phoenix,but I sense the lavenders have put their Plan B into operation.Out here we do not have a core of well catechized Catholics so he is going to have his hands full. But we do have at least four parishes with 24/7 Adoration and I think that has been a powerful force for good in the diocese.It has resulted in some great priests being ordained over the past few years.
Anyway I wish you all well!!
Any more news on the story about the gay seminarian who killed the pastor,who had reported him and then burned the rectory last summer? I'd like a little follow up on that one,please. Thanks.
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This is a natural defense mechanism. I too know several people living in the Cleveland diocese, and I wish I could get them to wake up to the reality of what they're participating in and supporting. But they're the type who will keep going to their local parish until the day they die, even though they are no longer being provided the Catholic faith, and even though the parish they lived in their whole lives has had several priests exposed as abusers, the suicide of 1 priest, and now recent public revelations concerning about the only priest who had yet to be touched by the scandal.
I hate to say it, but one must ask, "Where is Rome in the face of corruption of this magnitude?"
Shocking? Not at all, coming from the Cleveland Diocese.
"You reap what you sow"
If this isn't a wakeup call to the Cleveland diocese, nothing is.
I fear Rome has given up on the U.S. as our bishops have been so disobedient.
If you were the boss, would you help your lower management if they thwarted your every order? Or would you let them crash and burn and then pick up the pieces.
That's the forbidden question. You aren't allowed to ask that. We need to stay on message: "John Paul II The Great," destined for instant beatification, despite a few upsetting details like the collapse of the institutional church and unthinkable corruption of the clergy that occurred on his watch.
If the American Bishops don't come up with the solution (compare with the Boy Scouts' solution), Rome will need to step in even at the cost of creating a huge uproar from the AmChurch's "progressives."
The US bishops have been much more compliant than the bishops in nearly every other country. Look at the German bishops who defied a direct order from the pope to stop giving out authorizations for women to have abortions (although I believe they eventually gave in). The Dutch bishops don't really even consider themselves to be under the pope's authority. What about the new Cardinal from Scotland who celebrated his nomination by giving an interview in which he publicly disagreed with several important Catholic positions which the pope has taken.