Friday, November 30, 2018

As More U.S. Catholic Diocesan Offices Are Searched by Police, Reports Continue That Lists of Abusive Priests Released by Bishops Are Incomplete

One bishop after another is claiming that there have not been cases of abuse in his diocese for years now, and the lists being released are almost entirely names of priests who have been dead for some time. Many survivors are pointing out that they can testify that the lists being released are not complete, since they personally known of priests whose names are not on the lists being released.

Then I told you I have had phone calls from people telling me that this is true of the list released by the bishop in the Catholic diocese in which I live, the Little Rock diocese: people are telling me they know of priests whose names are not on the list of abusive priests in Arkansas released recently by Bishop Anthony Taylor.

Now there's the following:

Thursday an advocate group for priest abuse survivors called out priests who were left off a recent Jefferson City Diocese "credibly accused list".  
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, met outside of the Cathedral of St. Joseph to voice their concerns about the list.  
"We are here today because we are concerned, in particular, about three credibly accused child molesting priests who spent time in Mid-Missouri," David Clohessy, SNAP St. Louis volunteer, said. 
He said according to court records that include church documents Father Kenneth J. Roberts, Father John C. Baskett and Father A. Lenczycki were all clerics accused of child molestation.  
"And of course, the obvious question is, if we found these three how many more remain out there still hidden," Clohessy said. 

Today, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released a list of names of priests that have been removed from their duties due to "credible" allegations of sexual abuse
We appreciate this move by church officials in West Virginia, especially for including the names of priests who served in West Virginia but were accused of abuse in dioceses outside Wheeling-Charleston. However, we cannot help but note the omission of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, who has been accused of abusing at least one minor and resigned in September over allegations that he had sexually harassed a number of adults
The omission of Bishop Bransfield has us wondering what other claims were deemed by the diocese to not be "credible." Only independent law enforcement professionals can truly determine when an allegation is "credible" or not, especially given that we have seen church officials deem accusations not credible only to be proven horribly wrong later.

Peter Isely on Facebook yesterday regarding the raid by criminal officials on the offices of the archdiocese of Santa Fe and the significance of increasing willingness of law enforcement officers to stand up to bamboozling church officials: 

We survivors know, deep in our guts, in the pit of our stomachs, even, I would say, encoded in our symptoms, is a knowledge that it's not just the Catholic Church we have been up against. The abuse of children is embedded in a social and political system that allows for a continual reproduction and maintenance of an institutional underground of criminality in churches, and not just the Catholic Church, creating and recreating a space within religion for the exercise of utter lawlessness, where the innocent are abandoned by the law itself. Cardinals, bishops and church officials are not very good, on their own, covering up these crimes. The business, political, and judicial players in every community are a key and necessary component in assisting them. 
That is why it takes a "special kind of stupid" to take on the Catholic Church. That special stupidity I would call a love for justice. It is an impossible kind of love, like all love is. But, guess what? Just like love, sometimes, the impossible happens. I see these boxes every day, seemingly, getting pulled out of the secret archives and the open hiding places of the church and into police vehicles and vans and…I don’t know…maybe the impossible is happening, again, just like it did for all of us when we first spoke out the truth of the trauma which overwhelmed and shattered us as children. That was an unforgettable moment in my life. I was fortunate. My words were received by someone who loved me and so they were heard, and I was changed forever. So, I can attest from my place of special stupidity: yes, the impossible happens. And, I think it is happening and is going to keep happening.

Peter then goes on to state in a comment attached to the previous posting: 

And, in Illinois today, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today that the number of priest abusers her state "is more extensive than the Church previously has disclosed to the public." What a surprise. Her "initial review" has found priests with "credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors" not made public by Illinois dioceses. Ten alone in the Chicago Archdiocese. And it's Cardinal Cupich who Francis has pegged to plan the worldwide summit of bishops in Rome on this issue.

In summary,

1. There appears to be very strong reason — survivors and others tracking the abuse situation in the Catholic church across the U.S. are reporting this all over the place — to conclude that even now, with law enforcement officials breathing down their necks and as they claim to be providing complete information about abusive priests within their dioceses, one bishop after another is hiding information as he discloses names of credibly accused priests.

2. It should also be kept in mind that not all dioceses, by any means, have taken the step to disclose names of abusive priests. For example, the diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, appears to be actively resisting appeals that it release the names of abusive priests — even after news broke in September that that diocese had allowed priests to remain in ministry after reports of credible abuse were made about them.

3. It should also be kept in mind that we are discussing here only diocesan lists of names of abusive priests. There are Catholic religious communities throughout the U.S. that have not released lists of names of credibly accused members (priests, brothers, nuns) of those communities — and, in more than one case, which appear totally unwilling to take such a step.

I encourage you to read the article by Nick Ochsner about the Charlotte diocese linked above, and to watch the videos embedded in it. As you do so, keep in mind that, as these damning events were unfolding — cover-up, runaround, revictimization of victims of clerical sexual abuse ("He's a bully," Charlotte diocesan spokesman David Hains says of John Mohr, who reports abuse at the hands of  Father Al Gondek) — the bishops of Raleigh and Charlotte were fighting tooth and nail against a bill in the North Carolina legislature designed to address bullying of gay students in public schools.

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