Skip to comments.Experts say Law rejected advice
Posted on 06/07/2002 7:07:51 AM PDT by maryzEdited on 04/13/2004 2:07:51 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
Under pressure, Cardinal Bernard F. Law implemented so-called zero tolerance and mandatory reporting policies for sexually abusive priests earlier this year, but a group of specialists on sexual abuse who met with Law in 1993 at his invitation say he dismissed advice they gave him then to adopt such measures.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
In 1985, Law had report on repeat abusers
By Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe Staff, 1/7/02
Months after Cardinal Bernard F. Law's November 1984 decision to send the Rev. John J. Geoghan to St. Julia's parish in Weston, despite a record of sexually molesting boys, US bishops received a report that identified sexually abusive priests as likely repeat offenders with little chance of being cured.
``The recidivism rate for pedophilia is second only to exhibitionism, particularly for homosexual pedophilia,'' said the 92-page report, issued independently in 1985 by a trio of medical, legal, and church experts and delivered to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops that year.
At the time, Law was one of several bishops who encouraged the writing of the report, which urged the creation of a national crisis intervention team and warned that there was ``no hope at this point in time for a cure'' for priests who habitually molested minors.
The authors of the report were the late Rev. Michael Peterson, then a psychiatrist and president of Saint Luke Institute in Suitland, Md., which treated sexually abusive priests, the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, secretary to the Vatican's US ambassador, and F. Ray Mouton, an attorney who had represented a Louisiana archdiocese in pedophelia cases.
The report did state that treatment could ``help rehabilitate clerics so that they may return to active ministry'' - but only under specific conditions and with lifelong treatment.
That treatment, the report said, should include a minimum six-month stay in a treatment facility, six-to-12 months of residence in a halfway house, and continuing treatment in an outpatient setting.
``Recidivism is so high with pedophilia . . . that all controlled studies have shown that traditional outpatient psychiatric or psychological models alone do not work,'' the report said.
Not until 1989 - after Geoghan was caught abusing more children - did Law's deputies order him to undergo approximately three months of treatment at two institutions. But even then, Law signed off on Geoghan's return to St. Julia's, where he continued to abuse children.
Last July, in defending his decision to send Geoghan to St. Julia's, Law left the impression that the church's awareness of how to deal with pedophile priests was newly acquired. ``I only wish that the knowledge that we have today had been available to us earlier,'' Law wrote in The Pilot, the archdiocesan newspaper.
But Law knew of the 1985 report to Catholic bishops, and other specialists have said that even in the 1970s, Catholic bishops were aware of growing complaints of clergy sexual abuse, and had been told that priests who molested children were afflicted with a serious mental illness.
Church officials shelved the 1985 report and ignored its recommendations, according to the Rev. Thomas Doyle, who cited Law's initial support for the production of the report. And in the Boston archdiocese, Law did not announce a policy for dealing with pedophile priests until January 1993, after more than 100 victims had come forward with evidence that former priest James Porter had sexually abused them in the Fall River archdiocese.
The 1985 report also recommended that the church do away with its practice of shrouding the problem of clergy sexual abuse in secrecy and instead take a more open approach when presented with questions from the news media.
``All tired and worn policies utilized by bureaucracies must be avoided and cliches such as `no comment' must be cast away,'' the report said. ``In this sophisticated society a media policy of silence implies either necessary secrecy or cover-up.''
Thank God for the media. It breaks my heart to say that the local and national media outlets are fully responsible for bringing this evil situation to light. God works in mysterious ways.
Krauthammer has a good column today on this subject. Basically, the bishops felt themselves to be "extrajuridical" to American justice.
Only when a gun is put to their heads do they protect children.
I'm sure that's what some victims would literally like to see.
God works in mysterious ways.
For some people a reproving look is enough; others have to be hit over the head. Looks like Law is going to have to be tarred and feathered and dragged through the streets before anything starts to penetrate.
I don't agree with you often, but you are right, without a gun to their heads, nothing would have come to light - or, maybe in drips and drabs, but not like this torrent we have now. It is lancing the boil.
I'm just a regular shmoe, and I had no idea about this stuff, none.
He already had a couple of bodyguards. Unbelievable.
I can't help it, I am bad, but your choice of words in closing the above sentence made me laugh.
Law has been just oblivious, apparently, to anything he didn't want to hear.
It is so outrageous that Cardinal Law rejected the advice of experts back in 1993 and continued to shield child molesters. Where was his sense of morality, his duty to God to protect the most innocent among us? Any lay person on the street would do anything to save a child. (Like the kind, caring, and decent volunteers in Utah who are trying to find and save the kidnapped girl)
Please look at my post no. 9 and american colleen's post no. 3. A number of people knocked themselves out trying to swerve him from the course he chose.
I don't know whether you've ever checked the Boston Globe website (link goes directly to scandal coverage), but they've been putting up documents produced in the court cases. The Globe, of course, is a liberal and anti-Catholic rag, but they've done yeoman's work on this -- like Attila the Hun, I guess they qualify as the "Scourge of God."
I'm not a canon lawyer (or any other kind), but when I read the article and saw his disingenuous appeal to "Canon Law," I couldn't help wondering precisely which canon reads, "It's okay to let your flock, even the children, fend for themselves if you have to protect a scum-sucking, bottom-feeding, spawn of Satan priest."