Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Two Days Before New Year, Charlotte Diocese Releases List of Accused Clergy: "It's Incomplete, There Are Names Missing"

A follow-up to my posting on the 26th noting that Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina, promised in May this year to release a list of priests accused of abusing minors in the Charlotte diocese before the end of the year:

The list was released yesterday. The day before New Year's eve. When people are still in holiday mode following Christmas and as New Year's eve approaches. When the media are less active and vigilant than they are at non-holiday times.

Some responses to the diocesan list and its release yesterday: 

Catholic officials in Charlotte, NC have finally followed in the footsteps of the vast majority of dioceses around the country and released a list of priests accused of abuse. Unfortunately, the list released today is incomplete and leaves off allegations related to other church staffers. We call on them to update this list immediately in order to provide a clearer and more complete look at abuse within the Diocese of Charlotte. 
Here are four examples, easily found online, of abusers within the Diocese of Charlotte who were not listed: 
Paul L. Berrell, Music Minister 
Berrell was convicted of producing child pornography while working as the music minister at St. Eugene Catholic Church in Asheville. Berrell’s victim was a student at Asheville Catholic School. Notably, the pastor at Berrell’s church, John Schneider, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for going to Berrell’s home after he had been arrested and deleting evidence from Berell’s computer
Deacon Mark Doherty 
Deacon Doherty was denied ordination to the priesthood in Boston after two boys came forward to allege that he had molested them when they were 13. Despite being informed of these allegations by Cardinal Bernard Law, the deacon was hired as a teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School by Bishop William Curlin. Deacon Doherty was supervised by Monsignor Mauricio West, who himself has recently been accused of sexual misconduct
Seminarian John Brian Kaup 
While working as a youth minister at Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury, NC, John Brian Kaup was alleged to have raped a 17-year-old girl who, in a lawsuit, described years of grooming by Kaup. Six months after the alleged incident, Kaup left the seminary program but was hired at a different church in Huntersville
Monsignor Mauricio Wes
Allegations against Monsignor West were found credible in late November. We can only assume that the monsignor was not included on the list because his victims were adults, and not children.

The release is an important step for the diocese, but it’s one that could be marred by new revelations of missteps by the church nationwide. An Associated Press analysis published late last week revealed that more than 900 Catholic clergy accused of child sexual abuse and other sexual misbehavior were left off of lists released across the United States. Those clergy included members of religious orders or priests arrested for sexual crimes such as rape, solicitation and receiving or viewing child pornography. … 
Among the questions that need re-checking or addressing: Were there any clergy not on the diocese list who were arrested or accused of sexual crimes such as rape and solicitation that involved young adults or might have raised red flags regarding children? Diocese officials also should examine the Associated Press reporting to make sure that clergy who were left off other lists didn’t serve here, and it should quickly address any new questions regarding names that might have been missed.

Those who have worked closely with cases of sexual abuse and cases of allegations of sexual abuse from within the Catholic Church say while the list released Monday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte might provide validation for abuse victims, it is far from complete. 
“It’s incomplete, there are names missing,” attorney Seth Langson said. 
Langson has represented sex abuse survivors for over 30 years, including several against the Charlotte diocese. He says at least a handful of accused abusers' names weren’t included on the list released Monday. 
“While trying to look transparent, they put out the least information they could," he said. "It was incomplete."

It baffles me that there are still people seeking to depict Catholic structures which — and repeatedly — function in anti-transparent, obfuscating, obscuring, and misdirecting ways, as transparent and accountable in any aspect of their functioning. When the lack of transparency is built into the system and is part of its functioning, you just cannot credibly claim that a diocese can be, say, financially transparent while it's the opposite of transparent in divulging information about clerical sexual abuse of minors.

It's more than a little misleading for Charlotte's flagship newspaper to claim that "names…might have been missed" on this diocesan list. Names are not 'missed' on these lists. They are deliberately left off. List after list in diocese after diocese is incomplete — by the deliberate choice of diocesan officials who are suppressing information and not revealing all they know.

The media need to be honest about that fact and stop providing cover for mendacious church structures that are harming vulnerable human beings.

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