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Dallas Morning News: Two-thirds of bishops let accused priests work
The Dallas Morning News ^ | June 11, 2002 | BROOKS EGERTON and REESE DUNKLIN

Posted on 06/11/2002 8:13:16 PM PDT by DallasMike

Two-thirds of bishops let accused priests work

Spokesman: 'Prudent decisions' made amid abuse allegations

06/12/2002

By BROOKS EGERTON and REESE DUNKLIN / The Dallas Morning News

Roughly two-thirds of the top U.S. Catholic leaders have allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to keep working, a practice that spans decades and continues today, a three-month Dallas Morning News review shows.

Church spokesmen did not dispute the results of the study, which is the first of its kind and depicts a far broader pattern than has emerged this year in Boston. That archdiocese's employment of known child molesters has made international news and led Pope John Paul II to summon American cardinals to Rome in April.

Now, with the world watching and the crisis deepening, members of the Catholic hierarchy are in Dallas to debate a draft policy on abuse – which does not address church leaders' roles in concealing or enabling it.

Also Online
Catholic bishops and sex abuse database
A few prosecutors around the country have begun examining bishops' actions, even as some representatives of the Vatican – which must approve any decisions made this week – are suggesting that U.S. church leaders not cooperate fully with secular authorities.

Meanwhile, recent polls say that most American Catholics believe that church leaders involved in cover-ups should resign. And three bishops have resigned this year after being accused of abuse, including the head of the Diocese of Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday. Others who previously quit have returned to ministry.

The News' review found that at least 111 of the nation's 178 mainstream, or Roman rite, Catholic dioceses are headed by men who have protected accused priests or other church figures, such as brothers in religious orders, candidates for the priesthood, teachers and youth-group workers. The study did not include about 100 other members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, most of whom serve in supporting roles but can vote this week in Dallas.

Key findings
111 of 178 leaders of dioceses kept accused priests working
Eight of the 111 are cardinals in U.S. archdioceses
The bishops come from at least 40 states
They ignored warnings of suspicious behavior
They kept priests on the job after admissions of wrongdoing, sexual disorder diagnoses, legal settlements and criminal convictions
The bishops' involvement took many forms, from ignoring warnings about suspicious behavior to keeping priests on the job after admissions of wrongdoing, diagnoses of sexual disorders, legal settlements, even criminal convictions.

Among the 111 are all eight cardinals who head American archdioceses, bishops in at least 40 states, and most members of the bishops committee that drafted the policy up for discussion. Many members of the predecessor committee – the bishops have been studying this matter for more than a decade and got their first detailed report on it in 1985 – also have employed accused priests.

The Rev. Francis Maniscalco, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed no surprise at the numbers.

"Why should anybody's feet be held to the fire?" he asked. "The bishops made what they thought were prudent decisions at the time. The decisions were made on the best advice available.

"This is a very complex matter that the bishops have been trying to deal with for nearly 20 years," Monsignor Maniscalco said.

Dallas Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Galante, a member of the current abuse committee, acknowledged that some leaders repeatedly reassigned men in spite of evidence that they were reoffending and that their therapy wasn't working.

"I can't defend that," he said. "It is not defendable."

Bishop Galante said he did not think any of his colleagues had put molesters back to work with "the intent of putting someone in danger. But the result has been that."

The problem, he said, is that "the sense of responsibility we had to the priest has failed to be balanced with the responsibility we have to the rest of the people."

Agonizing decisions

Monsignor Maniscalco noted that some suspended priests have won reinstatement from the Vatican, and that others went back to work with the consent – sometimes even at the insistence – of congregations.

Bishops, he said, have agonized about how to handle accusations, particularly when accusers didn't want to file civil or criminal charges. Sometimes the solution was to put priests in administrative jobs or adult-only ministries, he said.

Bishop Galante said he sees two shortcomings with that approach. One, he said, is "the affront to the victim," and the other is that the priests retain a social status that may help them gain access to children while technically off duty.

He explained the latter phenomenon through a lament another bishop shared with him many years ago, after reassigning pedophiles to nursing home chaplain jobs and similar posts: "The problem is they all have driver's licenses and cars."

The Rev. Thomas Doyle, who helped write the 1985 report to the bishops while working at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, said he thought numbers found in The News' study were low. Nevertheless, he said, the results point to a problem so pervasive that "the bishops don't know how to fix it."

Father Doyle now consults extensively with plaintiffs' attorneys and has broken with top church leaders, saying that they did nothing to address the issues he raised. He said he doubts the Dallas meeting will result in major reform.

"In the past, the bishops, the clerics from the pope on down, have said many positive, apologetic things, and they have not followed through," Father Doyle said. Just getting to this juncture, where the only item on the bishops' agenda is abuse, took "an avalanche of negative publicity that was followed by a tidal wave of more negative publicity that was accompanied by a massive hemorrhage of millions and millions of dollars."

What does he think it would take to bring about major change? "It will take one of them going to jail for cover-up and obstruction," said Father Doyle, a military chaplain who once screened American bishop candidates and was considered bishop material.

Bishop Galante, asked whether some diocesan leaders were too much a part of the problem to be part of the solution, replied: "I honestly don't know."

In recent months, many bishops have announced zero-tolerance policies, combed through personnel files and dismissed previously accused priests.

"I would be saddened and very much shocked," Bishop Galante said, "if there are still bishops so caught up in the old way that they can't see a new way."

Therapists' advice

In explaining why they let accused and even confirmed abusers keep working, bishops frequently give a two-part defense: They did what they did many years ago, relying on the advice of skilled therapists who had treated the priests.

Many cases coming to light involve decades-old allegations, and many accused men were sent to treatment centers. But there is more to the story, documents and interviews show.

For starters, several bishops left suspect clergymen in parishes or transferred them in the late 1990s and beyond, after a landmark civil trial in Dallas resulted in the largest clergy-abuse verdict in history. Sometimes they did so after allegations of recent misconduct.

In Alexandria, La., for example, Bishop Sam Jacobs returned the Rev. John Andries to a parish after a 1998 fondling accusation. By last year, Father Andries was in trouble again, criminally charged with touching and masturbating onto a sleeping boy at his rural home.

And in southern Oklahoma, the Rev. James Rapp stayed on the job until 1999, five years after a previous boss in Michigan told Oklahoma City Archbishop Eusebius Beltran that the priest had been treated for a sexual disorder. During those five years, Father Rapp molested at least one boy and has since been sent to prison.

When it comes to the question of medical advice, Richard Sipe, a prominent Catholic therapeutic expert, acknowledges that psychiatry has advanced in recent decades and better understands the intractability of abusers.

But the bishops' insistence on this point, he argues, obscures a larger one: that church leaders rarely alerted police and sometimes pressed victims not to, allowing criminals to escape the consequences of their crimes.

"Is there any bishop who didn't know this was illegal?" asks Mr. Sipe, a married ex-priest who has reviewed case histories on hundreds of abusive clergy. As a priest and as a layman, he has advised Catholic leaders on how to deal with offenders.

Mr. Sipe also said many bishops have seemed more interested in putting their priests back to work than making sure it was safe to do so. Some bishops, he said, sent abusers to therapists who lacked specialized training, or withheld information from professionals to minimize the seriousness of a situation. Some simply did not heed experts' recommendations or warnings, as seen from testimony in Dallas' landmark Rudy Kos case and other lawsuits.

Finally, Mr. Sipe said, some treatment centers that bishops used were staffed in part with priests who were accused of abuse.

Similar scenarios have been revealed recently in Boston: Molesters were moved from parishes to diocesan headquarters, where they made decisions affecting more recently accused priests. And in Cleveland, one accused priest was told to monitor another, who'd been reassigned to his church; they've since been accused in a lawsuit of ganging up on a boy in a shower there.

Keeping details hidden

Other themes that emerged from a database The News compiled:

• Despite pledges of openness from Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., who heads the national conference of bishops, some Catholic leaders have failed to provide a complete picture of clergy abuse in their dioceses.

In March, for example, Bishop William Curlin of Charlotte, N.C. announced that he had "zero tolerance for child sex abuse" and that the only misconduct case he knew about in the area happened a half-century ago. A month later came the news that Bishop Curlin had reassigned a priest in 1997 after paying a settlement to one victim.

The bishop of Evansville, Ind., Gerald Gettelfinger, made a similar no-tolerance pronouncement this spring, then soon admitted he had at least three accused priests in parishes. One had a child-pornography conviction. Another had been sent to treatment twice and still wasn't obeying orders not to work closely with children. His accusers included his nephew.

Still other church leaders, such as Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, have refused to say anything about what they've done with accused priests.

• Some prelates continue to keep evidence of sexual abuse hidden from law enforcement authorities.

Omaha, Neb., Archbishop Elden Curtiss didn't tell police last year when a priest admitted viewing child pornography on a work computer, a prosecutor has said. The archbishop transferred the man from one Catholic school to another, and criminal charges resulted only after a lay teacher bypassed the archbishop and alerted authorities.

Archbishop Curtiss has since been investigated for possible witness tampering after he sought the whistle-blower's resignation. He has apologized and won't be charged, the prosecutor said.

• Some church leaders, through action or inaction, have helped criminally accused priests leave the country.

Several – from Texas, California, North Dakota, New Jersey and beyond – remain at large. Another is in South America, where he got a job after a molestation conviction in New York. A bishop there wrote the priest a job recommendation after he had been indicted. The priest is under house arrest, accused of molesting more children in Colombia.

Staff researcher Darlean Spangenberger contributed to this report.



TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catholic; clergy; dallas; homosexual; pederasty; pedophila
So this is the BIG story?
1 posted on 06/11/2002 8:13:16 PM PDT by DallasMike
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To: DallasMike
And in Cleveland, one accused priest was told to monitor another, who'd been reassigned to his church; they've since been accused in a lawsuit of ganging up on a boy in a shower there.

Has anyone heard about this case of priests "ganging up on a boy in a shower" in Cleveland?

2 posted on 06/11/2002 8:30:25 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: DallasMike
Yes, it's a big story.

The fact that so many, including the Catholic clergy, don't understand how big this is says volumes about just how bad things are in our day.

When you regularly slaughter defensless, unborn infants (a practice that supposedly these same clergy decry), it isn't that far to go to objectification of children, making them fair game for molestations and worse.

Thus, people like you don't see "the big deal."

My God, do you realize that we've been seeing one instance after another, all over this country, where priests were SENT TO PRISON after having repeated their offenses time and time again, and having been PROTECTED by the closed society that is the American Roman Catholic hierarchy?

At first, I thought it was only a few isolated cases. Now they're coming up with case after case after case, not just of allegations but of ACTUAL CRIMINAL INDICTMENTS, or LEGAL SETTLEMENTS, or whatever.

So, yes, this IS a "Big Story," and the fear is that, given the increasingly closed ranks on the part of that hierarchy as it seeks to protect ITSELF from the onslaught, the story is even BIGGER than anyone knows at this point!

If the Church were to fully cooperate and disclose all its records regarding these criminals, I fear the world would stand agog at the great evil that has been wrought here.

3 posted on 06/11/2002 8:34:12 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: DallasMike
They mention how WIDESPREAD this suddenly is and then repeat the same old stories we have all read about the same few priests as corroboration. Is there anything new here?
4 posted on 06/11/2002 8:43:09 PM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: DallasMike
Yep, it is big. But it just reaffirms in everyone's mind what they guessed all along:

The majority of Catholic leadership is corrupt - liars, perjurers, child-molesters, or protectors of those molesters.

5 posted on 06/11/2002 8:44:39 PM PDT by fogarty
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To: Palladin;Maryz
ping
6 posted on 06/11/2002 8:51:16 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Illbay
Thus, people like you don't see "the big deal."

Spare me. The story is just a glorified database listing crimes that were, for the most part, already known. Bringing to light significant new crimes would have been a big story. The Morning News is desperate for readership and Nightline is desperate for viewership. The database is a very useful tool but hardly lives up to the hype.

7 posted on 06/11/2002 9:00:57 PM PDT by DallasMike
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To: DallasMike
Mike:

Yes, it's big because it demonstrates how out of touch the Catholic leadership is with the rest of the flock, of which I am one. Nowhere in this article does it address what EVERYONE knows is the real issue: homosexuality in the priesthood. Homosexuality is a perversion. It has produced an ethic that can convince a practicing homosexual priest he can attack and corrupt young men (almost exclusively the victims here) and still call himself celibate. The corruption is deep, and I grieve that the Church can cleanse itself. The meeting in Dallas will probably just produce a weak and transparent white wash. Will there ever be a day when I can return to Mass with my teenage sons? How many of those attending in Dallas are themselves guilty. Most, I must sadly conclude.

DTS, up in McKinney

8 posted on 06/11/2002 9:00:59 PM PDT by Defend the Second
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To: Defend the Second
Nowhere in this article does it address what EVERYONE knows is the real issue: homosexuality in the priesthood.

You got it! What I would like to see (perhaps it could be gleaned from this database) is what percentage of the victims were male. My guess would be 80% or more.

9 posted on 06/11/2002 9:05:40 PM PDT by DallasMike
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To: AdA$tra
Is there anything new here?

What is this, your James Carville impression?

10 posted on 06/11/2002 9:11:45 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: DallasMike
I read every word of the most recent Texas Catholic. It was full of letters to the editor and articles using the word "pedophilia". The word "homosexual" does not appear. Who are the Catholic officals and clergy kidding? Only themselves.

You are correct that no new information appears in this article, except perhaps the high percentage of cover-up, and the low percentage of "getting it".

11 posted on 06/11/2002 9:13:43 PM PDT by Defend the Second
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To: Illbay
What is this, your James Carville impression?

I can live you calling some priests (IN MY CHURCH WHICH IN ITSELF I WILL DEFEND FOREVER) perverts and child abusers, but there is no reason to get personal here and call me a CARVILLE.
12 posted on 06/11/2002 9:28:04 PM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
I agree that it is a very big story, because it connects the dots. I was unaware of the extent to which bishops have been hopscotching all over the country. When a bishop gets in trouble for covering up in his diocese--VOILA!--he is spirited away to the opposite coast and settles in amongst unwitting constituents; then, he begins the old coverup again. What con artists! What a shell game!!

I also learned that these bishops are not only aiders and abettors of sexual perverts, they are also thieves, stealing the peoples' money to shut up the victims; and they are liars. The whole damn bunch should be defrocked!

Add to that obstruction of justice in buying airline tickets for international criminals and sending them far away from the reach of the US justice system.

Please excuse me now--I am going to throw up!

13 posted on 06/11/2002 9:28:14 PM PDT by Palladin
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To: Palladin
"The whole damn bunch should be defrocked!"...I agree. The fact that they have covered up and sent these pervs into other areas where they could molest again is unconcionable.
14 posted on 06/11/2002 11:18:14 PM PDT by brat
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15 posted on 06/11/2002 11:20:46 PM PDT by Mo1
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
Thanks for the ping.

Despite pledges of openness from Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., who heads the national conference of bishops, some Catholic leaders have failed to provide a complete picture of clergy abuse in their dioceses.

Did you read the RCF link on the other thread naming Wilton Gregory as one of 'Bernadin's Boys'?

16 posted on 06/12/2002 1:46:35 AM PDT by maryz
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To: DallasMike
My guess would be 80% or more.

Most estimates I've seen range from 90% to 99%.

17 posted on 06/12/2002 1:48:19 AM PDT by maryz
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To: Palladin; DrScarpetta
RICO!
18 posted on 06/12/2002 4:12:55 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: AdA$tra
IN MY CHURCH WHICH IN ITSELF I WILL DEFEND FOREVER

And therein lies the basis of the problem.

There remain too many Catholics who simply refuse to see the depth and breadth of the problem--from predator homosexual priests to a failed leadership--and choose instead to excuse and defend the Church to the bitter end no matter how much evidence is put before them.

Blame the media, blame the pedophiles, blame the boys and blame the psychologists. Blame everybody else but leave the queer priests and their facilitators, the Bishops and Cardinals, out of it.

You don't have to turn your back on the church to see this for what it is: a perversion. You can still defend the basis tenets of the church and its teachings and yet acknowledge that this cannot be permitted to flourish as a part of that church.

If you do not condemn it--and make very effort to eradicate it--you condone it.

19 posted on 06/12/2002 4:39:34 AM PDT by O6ret
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To: DallasMike
"This is a very complex matter that the bishops have been trying to deal with for nearly 20 years," Monsignor Maniscalco said.

Hardly. You hear a report of abuse, you turn the case over to the cops for criminal processing and the church decides about defrocking, etc. If Ceasar had been given his due, this wouldn't be the tragedy it now is. Priests can repent in prison just like everybody else.
20 posted on 06/12/2002 4:42:47 AM PDT by aBootes
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To: AdA$tra
Database
21 posted on 06/12/2002 6:51:41 AM PDT by ibme
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To: O6ret
And therein lies the basis of the problem.

I am not defending (and cannot defend) the actions of individuals within the Church. I have been and will continue to defend the Church. You can remove every Archbishop, Bishop and Priest, guilty or not, and there will still be a Church.
22 posted on 06/12/2002 7:02:20 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: Illbay
Wow, this is not the "2 to 4 percent" that has been mentioned all along as if it could be swept away.
23 posted on 06/12/2002 10:16:28 AM PDT by flamefront
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To: ibme
The News' review found that at least 111 of the nation's 178 mainstream, or Roman rite, Catholic dioceses ...

Regarding thayt number quoted as being a total of 178, yesterday I coincidently looked up the total US bishops, archbishops, and cardinals. You can conveniently find all of them listed at
http://www.nccbuscc.org/bishops.htm

My count is 291 total. (Which would make 111 more like 1/3 BTW).

24 posted on 06/12/2002 10:27:48 AM PDT by flamefront
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To: fogarty
The majority of Catholic leadership is corrupt - liars, perjurers, child-molesters, or protectors of those molesters.

But can they be forgiven by God?

25 posted on 06/12/2002 2:14:34 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: DallasMike
Pray for Catholic priests and Bishops
26 posted on 06/12/2002 2:19:02 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: O6ret
There remain too many Catholics who simply refuse to see the depth and breadth of the problem--from predator homosexual priests to a failed leadership--and choose instead to excuse and defend the Church to the bitter end no matter how much evidence is put before them.

"Defending the Church" is not the same as defending the heirarchy, and it's certainly not the same as defending particular individuals within the heirarchy.

27 posted on 06/12/2002 2:20:30 PM PDT by Campion
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To: Defend the Second
Yes, it's big because it demonstrates how out of touch the Catholic leadership is with the rest of the flock,

There you have the crux of the problem. The Catholic heirarchy is indifferent to these abuse cases because they feel no obligation to be "in touch" with anyone. They consider their man-made beliefs to be of a higher law and truth that anything else on earth. They believe that once a priest, always a priest. A priest can never not be a priest, therefore, in the leadership's mind, the priest can continue on in his duties, sheltered from the effects of their criminal activities.

28 posted on 06/12/2002 2:23:11 PM PDT by southern rock
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To: southern rock
The Catholic heirarchy is indifferent to these abuse cases because they feel no obligation to be "in touch" with anyone. They consider their man-made beliefs to be of a higher law and truth that anything else on earth.

I believe that are not indifferent but are covering their own behinds because they are either homosexual themselves are or being blackmailed by homosexuals.

29 posted on 06/12/2002 2:29:06 PM PDT by LarryLied
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To: Salvation
I would say so. The bible is pretty clear on that - God will forgive those who repent and turn from their wicked ways.

The problem is - the Catholic leadership is not repenting. Instead of apologies and confession, we hear stonewalling and the meandering words of lawyers. Instead of humility and responsibility, we see the arrogance of position and 'above the law' mentality of the American bishops and cardinals.

30 posted on 06/12/2002 3:47:43 PM PDT by fogarty
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To: DallasMike,ibme
DallasMike:
I hadn't heard the number 111 before; that is news to me.

ibme:
Thanks for the clarification.

Pray to St. Peter Damian for reform.

31 posted on 06/12/2002 4:26:12 PM PDT by Dajjal
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To: southern rock
They believe that once a priest, always a priest. A priest can never not be a priest, therefore, in the leadership's mind, the priest can continue on in his duties, sheltered from the effects of their criminal activities.

Nonsense. In Catholic belief, a defrocked priest is also a priest forever. A priest in hell is still a priest forever.

32 posted on 06/13/2002 4:24:32 AM PDT by Dumb_Ox
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To: AdA$tra; Campion
The RCC in the US is in extremis.

American Bishops and Cardinals think and act as if they are the church. With the utmost of disdain for the faithful they live like princes and protect themsleves and their friends and have refused to act as the leaders Christ has called them to be.

They and the American Catholic Church (as they have defined it by their actions) must be soundly and loudly condemned.

33 posted on 06/13/2002 6:23:19 AM PDT by O6ret
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To: O6ret
Last night all of the volunteers that work with yout in our parish, including my wife and me as scout leaders, met with our priest in our parish school cafeteria. We were asked, well, told we had to, fill out an extensive form that included any possible reasons why we should not work with youth. It inlcuded most of the standard questions you would fill out on any background investigation type form similar to the forms my wife and I filled out in order to obtain a daycare license. This was all done by the request of our Archbishop. We were all glad to comply. I think this kind of proactive response to this issue is probably one of the reasons our Archbishop is not listed in the 62% report. We have had at least two priests in our Archdiocese that were substantially accused. They were removed immediately and one will stand trial later this week. I would like to personally thank our Archbishop and our parish priest for the GREAT job they are doing in these difficult times for the Church.
34 posted on 06/13/2002 6:57:36 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: A libertarian
You just don't get it, do you, Mike?

I'm anxious for you to explain what I supposedly don't get.

36 posted on 06/14/2002 11:21:28 AM PDT by DallasMike
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To: A libertarian
You just don't get it, do you, Mike?

In fairness, you probably don't know about the hype that preceding the story that was evidently local, not national. In the countdown (yes, literally) leading up to the story being published, Dallas viewers of the local ABC affiliate and visitors to the Dallas Morning News website were led to believe that there was going to be a single major revelation. The Nightline press release intimated the same thing. Local news announcers gave blurbs every commercial break about how the story was to be simultaneously broadcast on the local news and released on the web at exactly 10:00 P.M. There were rumors floating around the Morning News forums that a USA cardinal was going to be outed. My comment reflects my opinion that the story, which was basically a compilation of already known facts, just didn't live up to the hype.

37 posted on 06/14/2002 11:35:45 AM PDT by DallasMike
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: DallasMike
The fact of the matter is that these priests should have been jailed in the past and those who commit these crimes now should be jailed. Having said that, the secular "experts" who advised the church convinced them that these priests could be cured through theraoy etc. The experts also told them that the abused children would recover best by putting the episode in the past and not dragging them through the process of a trial.

I'm sure the church leadership was more than happy to hear this as it let them avoid a scandal. But I think to describe this always as a coverup is disingenuous.

Too many FReepers make this out to be some ultra pervasive problem. While one abused child is too many here are some statistics to put things into context.

Fifteen percent of all students will be abused by a teacher before they graduate, according to studies conducted by Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, a professor at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and a leading national authority on sexual abuse and harassment. From here.

In only one-percent of the cases where students have been sexually assaulted by teachers did school officials attempt to revoke the offender’s license. From here.

"How widespread is pedophilia among priests?: Commentators have suggested between 5 and 10 percent. That figure has been presented by various "experts" and widely used by the media. However, true pedophilia--sexual contact between an adult and pre-pubescent child--is extremely rare in the priesthood. The best estimate is "0.3 percent of the whole body of clergy." The most extensive study which considered 2,252 priests over a thirty year period found only one case of pedophilia. It involved a priest-uncle with two six-year-old nieces. The number of pederasts or ephebophiles (priests involved, usually homosexually, with an adolescent minor) was much larger, but still less than two percent. Jenkins traces how those figures were blown up and presented without nuance in the media." From here.


40 posted on 06/14/2002 12:11:30 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter
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