Skip to comments.Priests Accused of Molesting Children Hiding in Plain Sight
Posted on 02/11/2012 10:13:46 AM PST by RnMomof7
Some 200 Catholic priests suspected of sexual abuse are living undetected in communities across California, according to an attorney who represents hundreds of plaintiffs who sued the LA Archdiocese for molestation they say was inflicted on them by priests and clergy of the church.
Ray Boucher has mapped sixty locations where suspect priests live, in cities and towns from northern to southern California, and provided those locations to NBC4 exclusively.
Many if not all these priests have admitted to sexual abuse, Boucher said. They live within a mile of 1,500 playgrounds, schools and daycare centers.
Since none of the priests has actually been convicted of sex abuse, none can be identified under Megans Law, or their whereabouts revealed in related public databases.
What the issue is here, is how you weigh the right of the people, said Boucher, who is also one of the attorneys representing students in the Miramonte Elementary School sex abuse scandal. In particular the right of children to be protected from molestation versus the right of privacy."
Among Bouchers many clients in the church action are Manuel Vega and Dan Smith.
Vega is a former police officer from Oxnard who took special interest in sex crimes investigations because, he says, he was sexually abused as a teenager by his parish priest.
He forced me to masturbate while he took pictures of me, said Vega, who believes that the public is often too squeamish to recognize what child molestation actually entails and thus not properly outraged by it.
When we talk about sexual abuse were talking about sodomy, he said. Theres pubic hair, theres sweat, therere smells, therere grunts.
Dan Smith, another alleged abuse victim, is reeling from the recent collapse of his marriage which he blames in part on the psychological effects of the molestation he says he suffered as a child at the hands of his local parish priest.
He would rape me and then say this is what Gods love feels like, Smith said, struggling to hold back tears more than twenty years after the alleged incidents.
Both men helped make legal history by joining 500 other plaintiffs in suing the LA Archdiocese for sexual molestation, with Boucher as their lead attorney.
In 2007 the LA Archdiocese reached an unprecedented $660 million settlement with many of the plaintiffs without admitting any wrong-doing.
It also agreed to let the courts decide which of the case-related church files should be made public, including those identifying alleged and admitted predators.
But according to Boucher and court documents, the Catholic Church has since engaged in a cover-up. By Bouchers account, Church officials allowed priests suspected of sexually abusing children to retire, flee the country or hide in rehab clinics until the statute of limitations on prosecution ran out.
What the church did is take these guys and send them off to facilities where they treat pedophile priests without ever alerting police, Boucher said. By enabling these priests to be hidden for so many years the church protected them from being prosecuted.
Meanwhile legal disputes delayed the release of the promised personnel files, and Donald Steir, an attorney for several priests, went to court to argue that those whove been accused but no convicted should have their names and privacy protected.
They are being punished as if they have been convicted, or at least thats the desire to punish them, Steir said. Thats not fair.
Its difficult if you represent an alleged terrorist or a pedophile, because people dont really care about the rights [including privacy rights] for these type of people, Steir said. But once we erode the rights of a group of people we dont like, we effectively have started down a path where other peoples rights can be similarly denied.
The courts, expressing concern for children, overruled most of these arguments and similar ones by the Archdiocese, which declined to comment for this story.
And a judge has ordered release of some personnel files, set for some time in the coming weeks. But he also credited the church for its increased sensitivity in dealing with molestation cases and decided to withhold the names of church officials who handled the earlier cases.
It is a ruling that reminds Boucher of the breakdown in accountability in the Penn state pedophile scandal. Look at Penn State and see how important and significant it is when people in authority enable sexual abusers to continue, Boucher said. That underscores how significant it is to get these names out.
Under the judges ruling the church can also keep secret, subject to further court review, the names of priests who have not been convicted and who have only one or two allegations against them or have allegations disputed by the church.
To Smith that seems like a formula for further cover-up by church officials.
If their interests were to protect the kids, they would have released the documents, Smith said. As a parent not knowing who your neighbor is -- that is really scary.
Many of these unidentified priests are included in Bouchers location map.
The danger said Vega, is that you have a person who has this sickness in them who is amongst the children.
The plaintiffs in the church scandal are planning to appeal the latest rulings to assure broader disclosure of suspects names and locations. But Boucher warned this could take time, allowing suspects to keep their privacy protected, as well as their undetected presence in neighborhoods across California.
Facts About Child Abuse
Sexual Abuse of Minors in Protestant Churches
Too often, problem teachers are allowed to leave quietly. That can mean future abuse for another student and another school district.
They might deal with it internally, suspending the person or having the person move on. So their license is never investigated, says Charol Shakeshaft, a leading expert in teacher sex abuse who heads the educational leadership department at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Laws in several states require that even an allegation of sexual misconduct be reported to the state departments that oversee teacher licenses. But theres no consistent enforcement, so such laws are easy to ignore.
School officials fear public embarrassment as much as the perpetrators do, Shakeshaft says. They want to avoid the fallout from going up against a popular teacher. They also dont want to get sued by teachers or victims, and they dont want to face a challenge from a strong union.
Why is it that the defense put forth by Catholics is always others do it too? Does that somehow vindicate the problem with the priests? To be frank, when I see that defense my stomach churns. The insensetivity to the issue is apparent and indicative of the underlying justification of the coverups.
Wow! It sure didn’t take long for the war on religion to begin. Shockingly, NBC has put out an article villifying the Catholic church 1 day after they disagreed with the president. Shocking.
“live within a mile of 1,500 playgrounds, schools and daycare centers.
Holy crap! 1500 per mile? We’ve got too many playgrounds!
it has descended into a witchhunt. This is shown by the rash actions of the LA school district which literally disbanded a school because several teachers were accused of molesting children. Suspicious has becomeguilt as Titus Oates abound in this land of ours.
It's pretty tough to not be within a mile of a playground, school or daycare.
The fact is, there are deviants in all walks of life. The rate is no higher among Catholic priests.
Your hatred of Catholic priests is the really story here.
Yes, that is precisely the point. What Salvation posted was not a "defense" but a refutation of the oft-repeated lie that this is a uniquely Catholic problem and therefore a weapon to be used to attack the Church.
when RnMomof7 posts about (accused) Calvinist pedophiliac ministers hiding in plain sight then I'll think otherwise. Until then it's an excuse to take a cheap shot at Catholicism, as though it were a coherent argument against what the churh teaches.
The rate is no higher for a supposed man of God than for others? Are you listening to what you say? Are you truly saying there is no higher standard for supposed men of God than for any other? My word, I would be ashamed to claim title to that statement.
I stand by my original statement. Instead of outrage or calls for justice I hear the rate is no higher among Catholic priests. Im stunned.
I can assure you that if the leadership of any organization I claimed membership in was found to have committed those atrocities I would not rest until justice was served and they no longer served in the capacity of any form of leadership. If that organization acted in the manner the RCC has I would understand that they did not in any way represent the one true God.
This was only a matter of time. And, gee, guess from where? Again, vague numbers, no convictions, no vetting of accusers, but, myohmy, lotsa umbrage. Meanwhile, its “newsworthiness” is nearly five years old!
Agreed. I don’t think there’s any more heinous crime than molestation unless it’s abortion.
Yet—despite numerous cases of recanters (Bernadin is just the most famous), no one ever seems to think that the accusers may be lying. It’s Duke LAX all over again. And that’s supposedly why we have courts. The Church ‘settles’ on many of these because of the scandal involved. I think that’s understandable. What isn’t understandable OR forgivable, for me, is accepting monetary settlements if you’ve got a decent case for conviction, or if all you’re really concerned about is the monetary settlement. If you’ve got a real case, adjudicate; don’t prostitute yourselves. Yes, I’m blaming the so-called victims, too. If these “victims” truly were molested and were truly concerned about other children, they’d prosecute, and jail the bastards. None of these plaintiffs apparently took that route.
You don't know that at all...The only ones you are aware of are those who the Vatican wasn't able to hide in time...
What happened in the Church was heinous. So is the abuse that takes place outside it. One thing the Church has done is to take steps to protect children, whereas most schools and other denominations have not gone to the great lengths many parishes and dioceses have done.
You can't win if you're Catholic based on the threads I've read here today. We're apparently defending child molesters if we show loyalty to the priesthood. We're accused of laying down on the adoption issue if we run out of legal options. Our bishops are accused of supporting socialized medicine even though the USCCB opposed Obamacare (advocacy for universal access isn't necessarily advocacy for government control). They're accused of cozying up for government money (Were Catholic hospitals supposed to discriminate against Medicare/Medicaid patients? Or display poor stewardship by turning down resources intended to defray the cost of meeting government mandates in the first place?)
Right now CATHOLIC BISHOPS are taking enormous heat for standing up for the right of each and every American to be FREE OF COERCION from the latest Obamacare mandate. And still, it's not enough. I guess some folks find Catholic bashing good sport :( Makes me even more grateful for the protestant leaders and laity (of all faiths and no faith) who've chosen to stand beside us.
Im dumbfounded. That thing you just posted has left me speechless. No comment is needed for those who cant see the utter evil contained in that shameless justification for what has happened in the RCC.
Anti-Catholicism has always been good sport here in America. Nowadays, they just use popular media to do it, rather than the legal system (see Blaine Amendments).
And how is it that YOU know these things? The fact is that you only suspect because you are suspicious of everything Catholic.
Oh those poor, poor priests.
Nothing to see here. Move along, move along......
Interesting the differences in reaction between those evil heretic Protestants and the holier than thou Catholics.
When it's a Protestant minister, the calls BY PROTESTANTS are for prosecution, a fair and speedy trial, jail time, and advocating of stripping of the guy's credentials.
When it's a Catholic priest, the knee jerk reaction by Catholics is *everybody else is doing it too* and *once a priest, always a priest*. Never mind what the Scripture the Catholic church claims it wrote has to say about the immoral brother.
1 Corinthians 5
How ironic that the church which should be setting the example in moral behavior by not conforming to the world is just like the world in it's character.
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They are poor,poor priests if they have been falsely accused. A lawyer who with his clients stands to profit from accusation will accuse as many people as he can. The tendency is to strip away the rights of many of the accused. The statute of limitations has been amended to allow accusations for deeds performed decades again, which is a terrible practice. Accusations of pedofilia have been brought against men who have done the equivalent of touching a womans breast. Others against young men who have had carnal knowledge with other young men. In fact 80% of the convictions have been of relations of this sort. Yet the issue of homosexuality is never brought up. So we have the paradox of a society with opinion inflamed against priests for homosexual acts which applauds those who take part in Gay Rights parades and will that very night engage in similar acts. People talk about hypocrisy. Well this is hypocrisy of the highest sort. To deplore what some priests do and tolerate what most other homosexuals do.
Poppycock.You are talking about high profile preachers who get caught. What is the usual practice of congregational churches? To discharge the pastor in order to avoid a split, because he will have his defenders. He will then go away, and is able either to find a new pulpit, or go off and start his own church. He must be discreet of course, but he has little to worry about because a deal has been made just to let him go, A Catholic priest, by contrast, remains a clerk within the Church until he is formally removed. Hence it is possible to trance his history if prosecutors can gain access to the books. With most Protestant churches, the record will have been purged, as part of the deal.
With one important difference: when were homosexuals outside the church given the power to retain or remit the sins of their victims? When did the homosexuals outside the church claim the ability to change wafer and wine into the body and blood of Christ? When were homosexuals outside the church held up to be an alter christus?
in principle easy divorce and birth control, and now homosexuality.
You don't know that at all... You just make stuff up based upon your hatred and conspiracy delusions.
I really, really, really dont want to hear any more of justification. Stand with your priest if you want but please dont ever think you are going to get me to feel anything but contempt.
Im utterly stunned that Catholics obfuscate, make excuses, justify, and do whatever they can to take the heat off the priests and totally miss the fact that these men are supposed to be from God or even vicar of Christ. Yeah right. If that isnt cultish activity and attitude I dont know what is.
The Church does not ordain open-homosexuals,unlike other Christian bodies, so what you say is nonsense. We also have had priests are adulterers, fornicators, drunks, thieves, and even murders. I personally do not think that homosexual acts are necessarily worse than any of these crimes against God and the Church. One must indeed take care to avoid confessing to a priest of known bad character, but I do not believe that his sin strips away his power to absolve, for though he may have the right to withhold absolution, it is not he who actually absolves, but the Church . Confession is an act of humbling oneself, a good thing in itself, and we rest assured in believing that whatever the character of the man behind the screen, that God knows our hearts, and that the priest has been given the power to absolve.
Yeah, the victims are all liars, dontcha know?
We have seen how Rome dispenses justice ..they had the perps
Did the others hide the crime? Did they move them around? Did the send them to Rome or Tx to let the clock run out? Rome is Guilty
And some are. When someone comes forward forty years later because be was pinked by a priest now dead and is taken seriously, then this shows that something more is at work than a desire for justice.
Do the other institutions parade themselves as representatives of Christ? If others dont see what you are doing as pathetic be advised that I certainly do.
When you find an example of Presbyterians or Methodists or Lutherans sending the offenders away, hiding them til the statues of limitations runs out ..then we will discuss this .
What is a "statue of limitations," ignoramus?
And have Protestant churches not simply get preachers go off to other climes in order to avoid scandal? Growing up in a small Southern town, I personally know of at least four instances of this. I also remember the small Bible Baptist church that my grandmother attended, whose young pastor skipped out with the money for the building funds, in which my grandmother had put donating she could not afford. All institutions have such thieves.
This article shocked me..the sheer number in one diocese that are still in ministry ..says it all .. In my dioceses I knew 3 offenders personally ..and actually liked them.. when two of them were caught they “retired “ and moved to Fla ..The other was sent for alcohol tx ..even thought the young man tried to commit suicide
Well, the Catholic Church claims to be Christs Church. But here you now claim that the Church is a criminal ,organization. Open your own books to the law and see if they find you innocent of all crime. IRS probably could send you to jail for many innocent evasions. I say that because the Church has been subjected to such close scrutiny that it amounts to persecutions in some cases. The prosector has even demanded an autopsy of a very aged Cardinal so as to rule out suicide/murder. This sort of fever is dangerous, because it is a dangerous to the liberty of all churches when prosectors so undercut the rights of mine.
Catholics seem to love their preditor ‘priests,’ judging by the posts to this thread.
"One must indeed take care to avid confessing to a priest of known bad character, but I do not believe that his sin strips away his power to absolve, for though he may have THE RIGHT TO WITHHOLD ABSOLUTION, it is not he who actually absolves, BUT THE CHURCH."
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with HIM, HAVING FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES." (Col. 2:13).
Did Christ pay the full penalty for our sins?
Remitting or retaining sins. The eucharist. The mass. Praying to dead saints. Sacraments. Rosaries. Pomp. Circumstance. And yet with all that "power" and "glory" they simply cannot understand why power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. All they can do is clear their throats, and warn people they should be "aware" of bad priests..What does that even mean?
The absolute proof that God did NOT ordain the Catholic Church as His Church is their actions for the last 2000 years. God does not subsidize deceit, false doctrine, hypocrisy, false piousness, or forms of godliness that have nothing to do with the finished work of Christ.
Disclaimer: Story written by an actual ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST.
Not exactly an unbiased source.
For example, the artilce states:
three major insurance companies for Protestant Churches in America say they typically receive 260 reports each year of minors being sexually abused by Protestant clergy
and then goes on to say
the Catholic Church has reported that since 1950, 13,000 credible accusations have been brought against Catholic clerics (about 228 per year.)
Note the difference. Insurance companies reporting claims, which may or may not be "credible." The other is the Roman Catholic Church self reporting and determining what is and is not credible. The issue is that the Roman Catholic Church has been covering this scandal up for decades, so why do we trust Rome's sudden self disclosure?
AND the issue put forth by the Prods on FR has NEVER been the rape of children by Papist clergy, but the cover-up. Had the Catholic Church conducted itself in a responsible manner and turned the priests over to the authorities as opposed to shuffling them from one unsuspecting congregation to another we wouldn't be having this ongoing discussion.
The interesting thing about these discussion is who FRoman Catholics tend to downplay this tragedy. The claim it's the homosexuals (who were ordained by Rome). It was a teenager who was molested (as if that makes it better). It's Catholic bashing (as if Prods forced the rapes).
The difference here is that the vast majority of Protestant clergy rapes on children results in the wolf in sheep's clothing receiving jail time. We rejoice that justice has been carried out. When one falls through the cracks and is allowed to remain in the pulpit we howl in protest that the entire church leadership should be held accountable.
On FR it is, and has always been, an issue of the coverup. Very few FRoman Catholics will own up to the fact.