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.
I find no connection between this question and the subject at hand.
I will admit that there have been bishops guilty of negligence and a cover-up. But this is because they themselves went against Catholic discipline. What no one seems to want to acknowledge is that the Church is in the process of cleaning itself up. If you were truly interested in stopping this abuse then you would be calling on priests and bishops to be more Catholic rather than using this as an opportunity to attack the Catholic faith.
There is no connection, really. I was just wondering.
So, you refuse to condemn sexual deviancy?
I, on the other hand, do condemn sexual deviancy, whether practiced by Protestants or Roman Catholics, or by anyone, for that matter.
Regarding your point #1, I truly am asking in God’s name, for His sake, for His glory. No blasphemy intended, or committed.
And my premise — that Roman Catholics here at FR are slow at condemning sexual abuse committed by their leaders — is obvious, as demonstrated in this discussion.
Their allegiance to their priesthood is cult-like. Even when certain priests are shown to be sexual predators, they refuse to condemn them.
You wrote, “May protestantism decrease and Christ increase.”
YES! I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY! Yes, may Christ increase, and all else decrease. Let us together exalt Christ, at the expense of our particular denominations.
I agree. I wonder how many Catholics would renounce the Catholic Church?
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
I accept your apology, and forgive you.
I hope, in the future, that this discussion can continue without folks making it personal. I am not the subject of discussion.
Regarding your point #1, I truly am asking in Gods name, for His sake, for His glory.
No, sir. The question posed in #170 asks Almighty, Holy God to bear witness to a question containing a false premise. Asking God's witness to a falsehood does not glorify Him, it horribly blasphemes Him.
And my premise that Roman Catholics here at FR are slow at condemning sexual abuse committed by their leaders
That premise is false, and anyone who has been here since 1998 should know that it is false.
May protestantism decrease and Christ increase.
“Rather what you are asking, and which I will not do, is that I condemn all Catholic priests and bishops as a group.”
Nope. I’ve never said that.
I’m simply saying that it would be nice to hear a Roman Catholic vocalize opposition to those priests who commit sexual sins against those who are placed under their care. Instead of condemning pedophile priests, Roman Catholics’ first reaction is to defend their Church and its leadership, en masse.
Finally, I want to thank you for saying what I’ve never seen a Roman Catholic FReeper ever say before so clearly: “I CONDEMN ALL THOSE INDIVIDUAL PRIEST OR BISHOPS WHO ARE GUILTY OF MOLESTING CHILDREN OR COVERING UP THESE CRIMES.”
That should have been the first thing said in this discussion, instead of the multi-comment deflection that Salvation offered up.
Huh? I’m not bearing false witness against you.
I had requested: “Condemn sexual deviancy, even when its your leaders who are accused/guilty of it.”
You refused, by saying: “Be sure to tell that to the protestants on this forum who object to the mention of protestant perverts.”
It’s as simple as that. I asked you to condemn sexual deviancy, and you refused to do so.
. . .
I see you wrote “May protestantism decrease and Christ increase” again. Thank you. All but Christ must decrease. If He be lifted up, He will draw all people to Himself.
I’m not attacking the Catholic faith at all but rather the practice of the Catholic church. I could question the entire population of Vatican City and I’m certain not one person would speak in favor of child molestation, not one nor would any fail condemn such as against Catholic teaching.
Over the past thousand years many attempts have been made to “clean up” priestly morals. The edicts and pronouncements of Popes and councils don’t seem to have worked in the past as history so clearly records.
Since the Catholic church self describes as “Apostolic”, “Holy”, I should think Catholics would ask at what point God would say, “Enough! I’m done with you”.
Does such a point even exist?
If you (yes, you personally) haven't seen me condemning sexual deviancy of various sorts on this forum, it's because YOU (yes, you personally) haven't been paying attention. That's your problem (yes, yours personally) not mine.
Now ... if you (yes, you personally) can refrain from making this discussion personal ... maybe it can be productive.
As long as you (yes, you personally) insist on trying to make it about me ...
I accept your apology, and I forgive you.
But I won't continue giving you the opportunity to continue offending.
May protestantism decrease and Christ increase.
Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.
You’ve written “I accept your apology, and I forgive you” a couple of times.
I’ve never apologized to you, since I have nothing for which to apologize.
So, are you really trying to antagonize the Religion Moderators with your “YOU (yes, you personally)” thing? Seems kinda odd. I’ll let them figure it out.
Despite the antagonism I feel from you, I *do* find some solidarity with you, Mr. Arrogant: “May protestantism decrease and Christ increase.” Yes, may Christ increase at the expense of everything else.
Then we have nothing to discuss.
May protestantism decrease and Christ increase.
He already did...at the Reformation.....and they've gone down hill ever since. The pediphile issue has always been among them...and why the cover-up for ages now. Of course they couldn't clean it out without depleating the Priesthood and it's the same today. Were they to act as they should against these Priests the Priesthood would fall...and the catholic church cannot stand without them.
That's the job of your leadership...and they've failed for eons now. The Popes answer to all the victims abuse was to declair the "Year of the Priest"....exaulting them once again before the very victims they abused. Requesting they be more "catholic" isn't working....as evidenced in still more and more stepping out as victims in 2011....thousands abused so one can easily be overwhelmed with the very numbers...and many journalists have left reporting about these as the nature and degree of abuse has been so difficult to take in.....that and the degree of cover-up by the leadership.
Then I respectfully suggest that you have not been looking for I, as many other Catholics here, have repeatedly condemned these crimes. Nor, despite the claims by many, has any Catholic here ever condemned nor made light of these crimes. Rather, all protestations have been against attempts to imply that these crimes are typical of the priesthood and thus invalidate our faith.
If you can agree that it is only the particular individuals involved who are guilty and not the entire priesthood we can have peace.
If you really want to address the abuse of minors by priests then join with me in the call that they live their Catholic faith more faithfully rather than using it as an excuse to attack the Catholic faith.
For some it seems their religion consists primarily of condemning and renouncing the Church, who, what, why, everything else is secondary.
The Church has many enemies today, radical secularism in the form of the Obama regime is just the latest most visible. The Church is the focus of the attack because it is the strongest, oldest and most predominant force in Christianity.
It is disheartening to see some conservatives join these enemies, apparently unaware they are furthering the same goals with the same ends.
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