One has to wonder how much it takes before the Vatican and subordinate bishops and cardinals will permanently throw a priest out of the Church and away from children and youths. Apparently, raping two young girls isn't enough based on the shocking story of Father Joseph Jeyapaul. Given the Church's virulent homophobia, would it have made a difference if he had raped young boys instead of girls? The mindset that views children and youth as just disposable refuse is truly shocking and underscores the disingenuousness of apologies for sexual abuse made by Pope Francis and many other high clerics. Their actions speak volumes even as they engage in crocodile tears. A piece in The Daily Beast looks at this shocking story - which I suspect is the norm rather than the exception. Here are highlights:
Just what is it that the Vatican does not get about predator priests? Apparently a lot.
Father Joseph Jeyapaul is a priest from India who admitted to raping two adolescent girls in Minnesota when he served the Crookston diocese from 2004 to 2005.
After being charged with the abuse, which included rape and forcing at least one of the girls to perform fellatio on him, he fled home to India, where he was eventually arrested on an Interpol warrant. He was then extradited back to Minnesota, where he admitted his heinous crimes and entered a plea bargain in which, in exchange for a lighter sentence, he copped to molestation of one of the girls.
Jeyapaul was suspended from the priesthood and served a year and a day in prison in Minnesota, then was deported back to India after his release last July. The Minnesota diocese where he worked also settled a civil lawsuit with the victims in which one accused him of systematic abuse in the confessional of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenbush, Minnesota, where he would then tell the girl it was her fault, that she had made him “impure.”
How much more proof would one need that the man cannot be trusted with minors?
Apparently, Jeyapaul’s rap sheet is not enough to kick him out of the priesthood for good. In February, the Vatican approved lifting his suspension from the priesthood and agreed that he could be reassigned to a new parish in India. That parish even made him the diocesan head of its commission for education.
“We are not only disgusted and alarmed, but we realize there is a serious danger,” Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson said during a press conference last week. “Pope Francis has broken a pledge. This priest is a predator who needs to be stopped, and they have chosen not to stop him.”
Anderson, who has been at the forefront of the legal battle for victims of clerical sex abuse in Minnesota, is involved because he represents one of the victims Jeyapaul went to prison for abusing. Megan Peterson, now 26, has stepped forward to tell her story to protect children. She asked Anderson to file a public danger (nuisance) federal lawsuit against the Ootacamund diocese in Tamil Nadu, India.
"This pope has said that bishops who cover up [sexual abuse] and the offending clerics have no place in the church. I feel like this is a slap in the face."
Peterson is not the only one calling foul. The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says this is the last straw. “It may be the most irresponsible Vatican move we’ve ever seen: Catholic officials in Rome have lifted the suspension of a recently convicted predator priest,” SNAP’s outreach director Barbara Dorris said in a statement. “We are stunned and saddened by such blatant recklessness and callousness.”
[I]t gives one pause to think that the Vatican could turn such a blind eye to a case in which the priest admitted to abusing minors and was sentenced in a secular court.
Interestingly, I recently learned that one of the few members of my family that had still been attending Catholic Church services has stopped going. Meanwhile, another family member talked to me about perhaps trying out the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Each remarked on having seen the movie "Spotlight" and its exposure of the criminality and callousness of the Church hierarchy. I have long maintained that NOTHING will bring change to the Church until there is a massive exodus of members and a drying up of the money spigot.